WHY EARLY READING MATTERS “We will never close the achievement gap, we will never solve our dropout crisis, we will never break the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many children if we don’t make sure that all our students learn to read.” – Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President, Annie E. Casey Foundation A love of books and learning begins at birth, and parents are their child’s first and most important teacher. Between birth and age five, a child’s brain is making trillions of neural connections, more than any other time in their life, and the experiences they have in these early years build the foundation for all future learning. One of the most beneficial activities parents can do to prepare their children for academic success is to read aloud with them from day one. Reading together stimulates healthy brain development, develops vocabulary, builds attention span, and inspires imagination. The time snuggling and cuddling together with books also strengthens the loving bond between parent and child. It sounds easy, but finding the time and motivation to read together can be challenging for families. Many parents work long hours at multiple jobs just to provide for basic needs. Or they may feel limited in their ability to influence their child’s academic success due to their own lack of access to formal education. Many parents did not grow up in a culture of literacy, but they believe in the power of education as a means for their child to achieve a better life, and they are devoted to giving their child a bright future. Raising A Reader brings a message of hope, joy, and limitless opportunities for learning to parents who are doing the best they can but may not have the resources to make the most of their children’s earliest years. Promoting and elevating parent success is embedded in the DNA of Raising A Reader. We encourage parents to inspire their children to be the agents of their own learning and the authors of their own stories - stories that will be celebrated and passed down from generation to generation.

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