Welcome to REading ADvantage (READ) Inc. Our mission is to encourage
parents to read to their children a minimum of twenty minutes a day
beginning with pregnancy. We do this by providing children, ages 0-8, with
free books to strengthen their reading, vocabulary, and comprehension
skills to enhance their lifelong learning experience. READ believes that early
literacy intervention increases a child's success in school and in life.
READ Spotlight - Deborah Polk
I hadn't seen Shirley Kalinowski in years when we crossed paths at the
African American Health Expo 2013 at my alma mater, Pittsburg High School.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Shirley at the venue and was intrigued
by her program. Shirley and I have a history, as we are both former Conta
Costa County employees. Shirley was actually my Manager for several years
as well as my mentor for many years prior to her retirement.
On this bright, warm, sunny day, Shirley was standing in a booth in
front of a table filled with books. After pleasantries and hugs, Shirley
began to share the work she was doing with a non-profit called REading
ADvantage, inc.which provides free books to children. We exchanged
contact information and subsequently met for lunch. During lunch, Shirley
shared more information about the organization and we discussed the study,
"The 30 Million Word Gap". I was appalled and saddened by what I learned.
After thoroughly reading the study, I was convinced that "bridging the
gap" was not just what I wanted to do, but what I needed to do. The
enormity of the problem has become personal to me and I am committed to
doing all I can to impact the disparity. I observe, live, and experience
the results of the problem daily and am excited about the possibilities of
READ which gives me hope for our current and future generations. The passion
for the work we do, the importance of the message and the people we have yet
to reach, is the impetus behind READ and the reason for my involvement.
Did You Know?
Words ... words ... words ... how do babies develop their vocabulary?
Quite simply, they learn from hearing the words of the people around them.
"If the child has never heard the word, the child will never say the word;
and if you have neither heard it nor said it, it's pretty tough to read it
and to write it." (From Jim Trelease's introduction in Read-aloud Rhymes for
the Very Young, selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Marc Brown, New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986.)