Partner Spotlight: Planting Seeds

COF23 group photo

This piece was not featured in the 2019 Community Impact Report

Ready, Set, Read helps provide families with the tools and support they need to develop the skills and habit of reading together with their child. When families have tools, they thrive. But not all families have the tools for literacy.

We have 41 sites with volunteers on each site every day. Children get prizes for every ten books they read. If they read 60 books, they become Champions. We’ve compared Washington kids’ scores and found that our Champions score 13 percent higher in literacy.

Making this available to everyone closes gaps in school readiness and is a huge boost for families who don’t already have books in the home or experience with literacy. New this year, families can do activities online, so they can follow up on their books even if they don’t make it to a site in person.

The program has been around for 10 years and now our student data connects with the school district’s data, so we will be able to compare students who benefitted from Ready, Set, Read to other 3-5 year old students and see how they did on third grade assessments.

Our theme this year is “plant a seed and watch it grow.” As families read together, they are planning dreams and seeds for their children. It helps the child gain confidence as they grow up. Good seeds lead to healthy blossoms.

Children should see themselves and also learn about others different from themselves. We just purchased books that are bilingual in Arabic, Vietnamese and Spanish. Tagalog and Russian are next. We’ve added books on gender identity that break stereotypes. We want to continue to be more culturally responsive. This program is for everyone.

Risa Hess is the Early Childhood Outreach Coordinator at Communities in Schools, which hosts the Ready, Set, Read program.