Joshua sat in circle time listening intently, as the teacher asked the class who read stories to them at home. He raised his hand and said sadly, “I don’t have any books in my house. Just one comic book.”
For 61% of children of low-income families, there are no books in their home and a majority of these children start kindergarten already two years behind.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam's United2Read program distributes books to Head Starts across our region, to create a stronger early relationship to literacy among low-income children and their parents.
Studies indicate that the key to a child’s long term success is to help kids be prepared to start school and ensure that they read on grade level by the end of third grade. If children can’t, research shows a direct relationship between illiteracy, high school dropout rates, risky behavior and a lower lifetime earnings. Children reading on grade level are more likely to escape the inheritance of poverty.
United Way is increasing the impact and book distribution methodology of our United2Read program. To have a higher level of impact we plan to serve the most-needy communities of children with more frequent reading kits, which are filled with books and other literacy-related activities for a parent to work with a child on than to disperse the kits to a greater population. Our aim is to help engender a relationship to reading for children and have them build a home library, rather than create a one-time book-gifting event.