Page Ahead is a statewide children's literacy program in Washington that is working to bridge the literacy gap. It is estimated that nearly 40-percent of all fourth graders in the U.S. do not read at grade level. The problem is even greater in areas of high poverty and among families where English is a second language. For them, the reading gap is about 80-percent.
"For kids who live in poverty books just aren't the highest priority for their families. There are so many other things that are going on and basic needs take priority. Books don't rise to the level of necessity," said Susan Dibble, Page Ahead Executive Director.
Page Ahead has an innovative program called Book Up Summer that gets new books into the hands of children to keep their reading skills sharp over the summer. A pilot program at five high poverty schools in the Seattle Public School District and four such schools in the Highline School District showed that schools that participated in the program improved their reading achievement scores about 10-percent over the previous year.
The Book Up Summer program has now expanded to several other communities across the state with the goal of reaching 30,000 kids by 2020.
Over the last three years, Page Ahead has received $225,000 from the Mariners RBI's for Literacy program in which PACCAR makes a donation for every run batted in by a Mariners player. You can also support Page Ahead and Book Up Summer online at PageAhead.org.