Guided by the fact that literacy is essential to lifelong success, Page Ahead provides new books and develops reading activities that empower at-risk children. Founded in 1990, Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program has given more than three million new books to more than 900,000 children through collaborations with schools, social service agencies, preschools, and early childhood programs across Washington.
Page Ahead’s goal is to close the literacy achievement gap experienced by low-income students in Washington. There are two significant periods in a child’s reading development where gaps can form: before they begin school and then during summer vacations. Page Ahead is committed to preventing those reading gaps before they become an “achievement” gap. By providing reading interventions that support children and families during pre-kindergarten and the summer months, Page Ahead works to break down barriers to achievement for children in need and to help all Washington children become successful readers.
Summer reading loss accounts for 80 percent of the reading achievement gap between more and less economically advantaged children. Book Up Summer, a K–2 program, addresses this gap. At spring book fairs, students “shop” for twelve new books for summer reading. Book Up Summer is based on a well-researched model that is as effective as (and less expensive than) summer school at maintaining reading levels from spring to fall.
Children also need early reading exposure before they reach kindergarten pre-literacy skills like print awareness, self-regulation (the ability to sit still and listen to a story), and exposure to a high number of words are the foundation of later reading success. Page Ahead has two programs to foster these skills: Story Leaders, which provides preschool teachers with shared reading techniques and free books for their students, and Story Time, in which volunteers visit preschool and kindergarten classes to read books, sing songs, and do crafts.
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