Raising a Reader

RAR1In the last few months, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has raised national attention about the “word gap” – the fact that children from low-income homes hear 30 million fewer words than their higher income peers.

A lack of exposure to words means low-income children are more likely to enter kindergarten already behind, and may never catch up. One solution for the word gap can be found right here in the Bay Area.

Raising a Reader San Francisco and Alameda is working hard to reverse the word gap by providing an ongoing rotation of books to low-income toddlers and preschoolers, and teaching their parents the importance of reading to their children daily.

Research shows that over 60% of low-income children do not have a single book at home. Thanks to Raising a Reader, every week 11,000 low-income Bay Area children get a bright red bag filled with a set of new books to borrow. Within a year, participating children will have been exposed to over 100 different high-quality children’s books. Continue reading

First 5 Contra Costa’s 2011 Highlights

2011 was another interesting and productive year at First 5 Contra Costa. We spent much of the year responding to the State’s attempt to divert $1 billion in First 5 funding, which forced us to make major program cuts for the first time.  Just two weeks ago, the Fresno Superior Court sided with First 5 and declared the State’s raid on First 5 funds “invalid.” We’ll know by February if the State decides to appeal.

Despite the political and economic pressures of last year, the tireless work of First 5 Contra Costa and our funded partners carried on.  Continue reading