February 18, 2022

On today's show, Adrian and Ethan continue their discussion of literacy and the importance of reading aloud to children.

Poverty and illiteracy are closely connected. All across America, children from low-income communities are entering kindergarten without the basic early literacy necessary to succeed. These children enter the school system behind their more affluent peers and are unable to catch up.

Shared parent-child book reading during children's preschool years leads to higher reading achievement in elementary school as well as greater enthusiasm for reading and learning. Having books in the home and being read to as a child are the two most important indicators of academic and lifetime success. Yet nearly two-thirds of low-income families do not own a single children’s book.

Forty-five percent of children in the United States – more than 32 million – live in low-income households. Most of these children have no age-appropriate books at home, and the classrooms and programs they attend are woefully under-resourced.

In many high-poverty urban neighborhoods, it’s nearly impossible for a poor child to find something to read in the summer.

We can always count on kids to see the issues and set out to make a difference.

Alana Weisberg Encourages Younger Readers with Book Donations

Los Angeles teenager, Alana Weisberg, a 16-year-old, wants to share her passion for reading with kids.

Reading has always been one of her favorite pastimes. So, when the pandemic forced schools and nearly all activities to shut down and she suddenly had a lot more free time on her hands, she found herself frequently purchasing books online to feed her insatiable appetite for reading.

That got her thinking about kids without access to reading materials because libraries are closed.

So she founded Bookworm Global, a philanthropic organization that has collected and distributed more than 70,000 new or gently used books to children since the spring of 2020. The organization works with 425 volunteers, schools, club sports teams and service groups. @bookwormglobal