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REadingADvantage, Inc.

Changing a generation - one child, one book at a time

Deborah Polk


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I hadn't seen Shirley 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 this venue and was intrigued by her program. Shirley and I have a history, as we are both former County employees of Employment and Human Services Department and now retirees. Shirley was actually my Manager for several years and my mentor for many years prior to her retirement and then for some time after retirement.

On this bright, warm, summer day, Shirley was standing in a booth in front of a table filled with books. After exchanging pleasantries and hugs, Shirley began to share the work she was doing with a non-profit, providing free books to low income children. We exchanged contact information and subsequently met for lunch. Shirley shared more information about the program and we discussed the study, "The 30 Million Word Gap". I was simultaneously appalled and saddened by the results of this study.

After thoroughly reading this 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 that I can to impact this disparity. I observe, live, and experience the results of this problem daily, and I am excited about the possibilities of READ which gives me hope for our current and future generations. The passion for the work that we do, the importance of the message and the people that we have yet to reach, is the impetus behind REadingADvantage and the reason for my involvement.

gold dividing line

REadingADvantage, Inc.
Changing a generation - one child, one book at a time.
1145 Second St., Suite A, #113
Brentwood, CA 94513
Phone: (925) 698-0098

Questions about Reading Advantage? Write to our director, Deborah Polk,
Questions about the web site? Write to our Web Master,

All material © REadingADvantage, Inc.

Site started: May 8, 2014.
This page updated: February 28, 2015