How does the organization Raising A Reader Massachusetts close the literacy gap for young children?

By working with a lot of partners: from parents and nonprofits to community leaders and authors, all of whom work to help children love reading.

Now, thanks to three upcoming events, there are even more ways for people to get involved with the organization.

The goal of Raising A Reader is to “end the cycle of low literacy by helping families across Massachusetts develop high impact home reading routines that lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning, success, and productive, responsible citizenship,” the organization explains on its website.

Raising A Reader teams up with early childhood organizations to teach parents how to use strategies like dialogic reading, where adults engage children in talking about books by asking them questions about pictures as well as about past story events and how the story might relate to something in a child’s life.

Books are also sent home each week in a Red Book Bag to ensure that families have reading material to share.

Raising A Reader Massachusetts targets the state’s Gateway Cities: Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Revere, and Springfield. And partners run satellite programs in other cities and towns.

The impact of the program, according to the 2019 Annual Report:

– 78 percent of families that hadn’t read three or more times a week before participating, now read more, and

– 78 percent of families use 3 or more dialogic reading strategies

In the coming months, Raising A Reader Massachusetts will be raising funds and doing outreach.

On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, the organization will hold its Better Together Winter Soirée, which will honor Boston Children’s Hospital’s Boston Children’s Collaboration for Community Health, which provides funding to Raising A Reader.

On Wednesday March 25, 2020, Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign, will speak at Raising A Reader’s Statewide Partner Network event, where 40 to 50 of the organization’s partners will gather along with prospective partners and leaders from Boston Basics and from the Department of Early Education and Care.

“The goal of the event is to celebrate our partners commitment to implementing our program with the highest level of fidelity to the families we serve and celebrate the many different types of partners we work with, including child care centers, shelters, public pre-k, and home visiting programs,” Christine Ward, the executive director of Raising A Reader Massachusetts, says.

And on Thursday, May 14, 2020, the organization will host its signature fundraiser, the Dinner with an Author gala, which will be attended by a group of some 30 writers, everyone from novelists Ace Atkins and Allegra Goodman to literary critic James Wood.

Want to learn more? Read about the evidence base for Raising A Reader or check out one of its fundraisers. Or even hold a book drive. Because raising readers who are better prepared to learn is good for children, good for families, and good for the future of Massachusetts.