Less than half of third graders in the District scored proficient or advanced in reading skills last year. But research shows that early literacy development and preparation for learning begin well before elementary school. In fact, studies show that preschoolers who have access to books and adults who read to them will have heard 30 million more words at home by the age of 4 than children who do not.
This is what educators call the “word gap” and, sadly, it is an accurate predictor of educational achievement throughout the student’s academic career and beyond. But we cannot wait until this “word gap” turns into an “achievement gap” before we start tackling the problem. I believe it is critical that the District confront the literacy and achievement gap at its starting point, well before it shows up in the classroom.
The Books From Birth Act would partner with the DC Public Library to mail an age-appropriate book to every child in the District every month from birth until their 5th birthday. Books From Birth would create a direct link for families to the library’s early childhood programming, especially DCPL’s outstanding Sing, Talk, & Read initiative, as well as adult literacy resources for parents struggling with low literacy, and help close the "word gap" before it starts.
Today, I ask you to take action. Will you support the Books From Birth bill by signing this petition? I will share your support with Councilmember David Grosso, Chairman of the Council Committee on Education, and will keep you updated on other ways to help.