Read Early and Daily (READ)

EIN: 82-3345797

Mission Statement

Ensuring babies and young children have new, quality, culturally relevant books of their own that are mirrors and windows into their everyday lives and communities

Program Summary

FACT: All babies are born with the same number of neurons…BILLIONS

FACT: Neurons are pretty much useless unless they make a connection (aka synapse).  

FACT: Connections are made through talking, singing, cuddling, and most importantly, READING books with your baby. 

Every time a book is read to a baby, a connection is made in their brain, that is, a neuron is activated (*lit up*). Isn’t that amazing?! It’s that simple.

BUT without books in the home, reading to babies and young children every day is nearly impossible. 

  • On average, children from low-income families have 1 book compared to 12 books that their peers from middle income families have. 
  • As a result, these young children hear 25 hours of 1-to-1 reading before school while children from middle-income families hear 1,000 hours of listening to books read aloud. 
  • By age 3, a child from a low-income family has a listening vocabulary of 500 words, compared to 1,100 for their peers from middle-income families. 
  • Arriving at school, they score 60% lower on cognitive tests and lag 12-14 months behind in language and pre-reading skills. 

READ was created to address reading inequities faced by Arlington’s youngest and most economically vulnerable children. We meet expectant, uninsured families at their prenatal appointments and start them off with a baby book bag filled with five board books plus tips for reading. When the baby is born, they are automatically enrolled in our cornerstone program READ With Me and receive a texted order form for a new FREE, quality, culturally relevant book each month for their baby’s first year. In addition, they receive monthly reading texts and tips.

Impact Statement

In 2023, READ enrolled 394 babies from economically vulnerable families at their prenatal visits into our cornerstone program READ With Me

  • 100% of families report READ With Me has helped them build a home library
  • 100% of families report spending more time reading with their baby.
  • 97% of families report they have made reading part of their daily routine
  • Over 50% of our families report READ is their only source of books

What ways can the public get involved?

READ with Me Book Fairies (Delivery Drivers)

  • Drivers spend about 2 hours on a Friday or Saturday morning toward the end of each month delivering books to families in Arlington. A car and valid driver’s license are needed.

Email for more information and to sign up to volunteer.

How are charitable dollars spent? Where does my donation go?

Our model is simple. READ gets free, quality, culturally relevant books to vulnerable babies when they need them the most. You can choose to help one baby or many babies.

  • $100 helps build and *light up* one baby’s brain 
  • $500 helps build and *light up* five babies’ brains
  • $1000 helps build and *light up* ten babies’ brains 

When you support READ, YOU are enhancing the literacy and language experiences of economically vulnerable babies and toddlers at their most vital brain development by providing books for them to keep and for parents to read aloud. These early simple acts of reading together sets a baby on the path to future academic success and self-sufficiency. 

A photo of a young child sitting on a play mat and reading a book.

Information provided April 2024