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Monday, September 10, 2018

Outstanding Literacy Organizations

Last week we shared 10 of the best back-to-school charities increasing educational opportunities for children in communities across the United States and around the world. While students and families continue to settle into their new fall routines, we’re continuing the school theme and sharing a list of five awesome organizations focused on improving literacy rates and access to books in the United States.

Research has proven that childhood literacy is closely tied to success later in life. These highly-rated organizations are recognized as leaders in the movement to improve student and family literacy rates. By conducting research, working in schools and homes, and providing books and other resources, they are fighting for a world where are children have access to books and are able to enjoy them.

Ferst Readers
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
A child’s path to a brighter future is paved with books

Ferst Readers makes a difference in the lives of children through the gift of literacy. They provide books to local communities to prepare preschool children for reading and learning success. The organization is addressing the growing problem of children from low-income families entering school unprepared to learn with a simple recipe for early literacy development. They ensure that children have age-appropriate books in the home and provide parents with literacy resources that encourage them to read frequently with their children. By mailing a new book every month to enrolled children, ages newborn to five years old, Ferst Readers is committed to providing early learning opportunities with the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy.

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
We believe literacy is a right that provides equal opportunity to achieving the American Dream, which everyone deserves

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy works diligently to advocate for and establish literacy as a value in every home. In 1989, Mrs. Bush pioneered the national family literacy movement, launching the Foundation that focuses simultaneously on early childhood education for preschoolers and adult literacy for their parents. Almost three decades later, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy continues to lead the national literacy movement and create family literacy opportunities for children ages 0-8, and their parents.

Make Way for Books
Sharing stories changes lives, especially young lives

The mission of Make Way for Books is to give all children the chance to read and succeed. In 1998, Make Way for Books' founder Dr. Mary Jan Bancroft answered a newspaper listing to read to four-year-olds at a preschool in Tucson. She found that this center did not have age-appropriate, quality picture books. Deciding to explore this need further, Mary Jan found that most of the childcare centers serving economically-disadvantaged children had few to zero quality books for young children. That same year, she founded Make Way for Books to meet this incredible need and began providing books to under-resourced sites and offering early literacy workshops for educators and parents. Today, the organization has provided services to nearly 300 preschools and childcare centers. Each year, Make Way for Books serves more than 30,000 children and families and 700 educators.

Children’s Literacy Initiative
Helping teachers deliver effective literacy instruction

Children's Literacy Initiative, founded in 1988, works with Pre-K to 3rd grade teachers to transform instruction so that all children can become powerful readers and writers. The organization delivers coaching and training to educators who work in under-resourced, under-performing schools and preschools, equipping them with high-impact literacy instruction techniques and high-quality children's literature. In 2010, they received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation Fund to implement its program in 38 schools. In 2015, using study results from this project validating the organization received another grant to scale up its program and serve 27 more schools. Children’s Literacy Initiative recently won the 2017 David M. Rubenstein Prize, the top honor in the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program for making outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy across the country.

National Center for Family Learning
Family literacy, family progress

Founded in 1989, the mission of the National Center for Families Learning is to create a literate nation by leveraging the power of the family. The Center works to: create understanding about low literacy; develop, evaluate, and replicate programs and interventions poised to break the cycle of low literacy for families with the greatest barriers to success; creative innovative solutions to learning English and achieving literacy proficiency for the nation's immigrant population; support teachers, practitioners and community providers who deliver literacy services; provide families with tools and information necessary to build literacy into their home and daily life; and assist communities and service organizations in designing and developing strategic programs.

You can use Charity Navigator’s Advanced Search Tool and Discover feature to find even more highly-rated working to improve literacy rates and provide books and resources to students and families.

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager at Charity Navigator.

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