"Just a dozen books selected by a child, at a total cost of $50, can achieve the same improvements in school performance as $3,000 worth of summer school."
(Richard Allington et al., “Ameliorating summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged elementary students,” February 2010)

Children who have not already developed some basic literacy practices when they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years. 5

1 Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, 1996.

2 Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed., Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2, 2006.

3 Jumpstart, “America’s Early Childhood Literacy Gap,” 2009, citing Jeff McQuillan, “The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions, 1998.

4 Press Statement, American Academy of Pediatrics, April 16, 1997, as quoted by Get Caught Reading’s “Fact Sheet on the Importance of Reading to Infants and Young Children.”

5 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, “National adult literacy survey,” 1993.

6 Jeff McQuillan, “The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions”, 1998.


61% of America’s low-income children are growing up in homes without books. 1

In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. 2

The average child growing up in a middle class family has been exposed to 1,000 to 1,700 hours of one-on-one picture book reading. The average child growing up in a low-income family, in contrast, has only been exposed to 25 hours of one-on-one reading. 3

Early reading experiences are now recognized as being of such importance that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians prescribe reading activities along with other instructions given to parents at the time of well-child visits. 4

An analysis of a national data set of nearly 100,000 United States school children found that access to printed materials—and not poverty—is the critical variable affecting reading acquisition. 6

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