Who are we?
USA Reads is a national initiative of the World Literacy Foundation striving to close the literacy and reading gap. We focus on children and families who are the most at risk of illiteracy.
The reality behind the literacy statistics amongst children in the United States is startling.
In America alone, almost 60% of children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not own a single book and one in four children struggle to read and write. These numbers are continuously growing.
Most of these children who face a life of illiteracy are located in disadvantaged zip codes across the United States of America.
All children deserve access to opportunities that support them to learn to read and thrive—in school, at home, and in the community. Yet, for millions of US children, their families, and their communities, access to such opportunities is affected by historic and present-day policies and practices that work in reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities.
Children from low-income families and children of color do not have the same access to high-quality early childhood development opportunities as do their peers. Their skills in reading development are lower. The “literacy gap” start early and result in much lower rates of college completion and social mobility for these children. While a high-quality education is important across a child’s life, much of the brain’s development occurs during the early years. This makes it an essential time to reduce “word gap” disparities and improve the lives of children.
We strive to get access to suitable, fun and engaging books into children’s hands, literacy resources and support to parents in underserved zip codes in America. We raise awareness in education because literacy matters!
Nourishing a child’s mind in the first 10 years of life is as essential as feeding their body. New scientific research confirms that what happens to a child’s brain development in their earliest years shapes the adults they become, the success they achieve, and the contributions they make to our economy and society. Unfortunately, too many of our children today are not getting the nourishment they need.
Researchers have identified what they’re calling a “word gap.” Many children who grow up in low-income families enter school with substantially smaller vocabularies than their classmates. This disadvantage leads to further disparities in achievement and success over time, from academic performance and persistence to earnings and family stability even 20 to 30 years later.
The research says the education and employment success of a young person in the future is not based on their parent’s education but on the numbers of books you have at home.
Early intervention makes good economic sense with a 13% Return on Investment for birth-to-five early literacy programs.
World Literacy Foundation aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2040. USA Reads – a project under the umbrella of the World Literacy Foundation that focuses directly on the children impacted by illiteracy in the United States of America. USA Reads will provide children from disadvantaged backgrounds access to suitable, fun, and engaging books. www.worldliteracyfoundation.org
To ensure every child can discover the joy of reading in their early years with access to suitable and fun books.
Striving to eradicate illiteracy in USA by 2040, one book at a time.
Our story so far…
Last year, l visited an underserved community in Austin, Texas. 90 percent of the children could not read and didn’t own a single book. For me, in my early years, books were pivotal for imagination, knowledge, creativity and created a hunger to learn. USA Reads is focused to bring around transformational change, one book at a time.
As we establish local partnerships with grassroots community groups across America, we are committed to racial inequity in literacy to close the reading gap.
I believe literacy is the pathway for young people to reach their full potential.
Andrew Kay, Founder USA Reads
“Reading skills are the key determining factor for a child’s future academic success and reaching their full potential”
IRS Letter of
Research behind USA Reads
Improving Literacy in the United States: Recommendations for Increasing Reading Success
Illiteracy is America’s Secret Shame. Is There Hope for our Children?
Low Literacy Levels Among U.S. Adults Could Be Costing The Economy $2.2 Trillion A Year
Illiteracy is a national emergency unfolding across America, and it's only getting worse
An old story made new again: Why students of color are primed to be left behind in the coronavirus crisis
First Book, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs International,
Tobias Harris Foundation, Kids Read One!,
Pitney Bowes Foundation, Glenmede and Fuller Foundation.