A Critical Need
One of the most critical problems facing our country today is functional illiteracy. Our standard of living and our country's ability to compete in a global economy are jeopardized when too many citizens are unable to read well or at all. Poor readers are quickly marginalized in our ever more competitive society - a problem that particularly plagues the District of Columbia.
The problem, of course, begins in schools and homes. For example:
In the United States, the typical middle-class child enters first grade with 1,000 to 1,700 hours of picture book reading time. However, a low-income child, like most of those in DC schools, averages just 25 hours.
Everybody Wins! DC's (EW!DC) proven programs, now in their 21st year, help break this cycle by helping children in need of extra reading support to catch up with their peers at a crucial point in their education. The benefit of a caring consistent role model has proven to be instrumental in improving students reading and reading related skills.
Dominic Massaro, a professor of Psychology and Computer Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, is quoted in an EdSource article from July 8, 2015 as saying: "Given the fact that word mastery in adulthood is correlated with early acquisition of words, shared picture book reading offers a potenially powerful strategy to prepare children for competent literacy skills."
EW!DC works to ensure this involvement with books by providing each child with monthly book distributions to keep and take home to read with their families. Both the EW!DC books and volunteer reading support help break the low-literacy and poverty cycle.