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REadingADvantage, Inc.

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



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Read a 33-day journal of one teen mom reading to her child.

What Our Participants Say about Our Programs:

  • Reading is a new routine for us. The divorce was pretty upsetting to us all. Now we have a quiet time with the TV turned off and we can read the Bernstein Bears. It bonds parents and children. The children want to look at books now on their own initiative.

  • This is a good program. We read a lot. We read more when we are here in this program. There is more opportunity to read here and the time is dedicated to that. This program helps families that haven't read that much.

  • Besides being educational this program helps with the bonding between parents and children. Besides bringing parents and children together, this is bringing the community together because we all live here together. I encourage my daughter to read books. She can pick out a book and read while I read.

  • I wasn't into books before. Now I have purchased our own book. We are reading every day. We read to the kids for 20 minutes every day. We have five kids at the dinner table. We have that book that you gave us both in Spanish and English. Our older kids are doing OK in school, but reading is where they are behind. Now the family reads together and asks questions. We read before bedtime. The kids pick out the books.

  • I love the idea to reinforce the habit of reading, because that is a bond between parents and children that nobody can break. To feed our brain is our most powerful weapon to have successful kids.

From our participants at the Mt. Diablo Unified School District's Family Literacy Centers:

  • Thank you for bringing us information about the importance of reading 20 minutes a day with our children. Thank you also for the books and for teaching us many ways to enjoy our children. We appreciate your hard work and your time.

  • Thank you for coming to my school and teaching us how to read books. I like reading my free book to my son. Please visit our school again.

  • Thank you for your time, information and books. They (my children) are impatient all day because they are waiting for reading time. When it is time my children are happier when I read books to them.

  • Thank you, Ladies, for your time. Thank you for coming to our school, and teaching us the importance of reading to our children. My children and I now have a special time together and we are learning. Thank you for the books. Sometimes when my children and I go to the store they want books instead of toys.

  • Thanks! Now I know how important it is to read to my son every day. Reading to him will help him succeed in the future.

  • Thanks for the books. My son is so happy. He learns faster when he reads books.

  • I am very grateful for you taking time to motivate us and to teach us the importance of reading to our children.

  • Thank you for encouraging us to read with our children every day!

  • My daughter says thank you for the books and I thank you for teaching me the importance of reading.

What Our Partner Service Providers Say about Our Programs:

Read a very nice thank-you from Dr. ReJois Frazier-Myers, Director of Student Services, Pittsburg Unified School District. (PDF, 32 KB)

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Hi Shirley!

Reading Advantage really provided an amazing gift and tool when you provided a new book for each of our new Kindergartners at registration time. Our administrative staff that conducted the registration was blown away at the offer of such beautiful books. And, then, to find out that not only was it a tremendous gift to the child, it was a great tool in keeping the child busy while the parent filled out the registration material.

Thank you, again, for your generous support of these books for Kindergarten Registration as well as the preschool books you provided at our Reading Night. We are a lucky community to have Reading Advantage!!

It's been fun to continue to follow you on Facebook - I was smiling with the most recent post with you and Steve Bibby.

Erica Olander
Parent Volunteer, John Muir Elementary, Antioch

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Dear Deborah Polk and REading ADvantage:

Thank you so very much for including Turner in your book program this year. What a generous and welcomed surprise!

It was wonderful to have you here at Turner to share your joy and passion for reading and books. Our Dr. Seuss family night was a huge success; REading ADvantage played a role in this! Our families love the free books and information that you so generously gave out. In addition, you and your group were here for our PTA Holiday Craft Night which was another big success.

Our families were thrilled to get books. As you may be very aware, many of the families at Turner struggle to make ends meet on a regular basis. Although books are exceptionally important, parents are not always able to make them a priority. Thank you for taking your passion and making a difference for so many others.

We are very interested in any programs you may offer. We would warmly and enthusiastically embrace them all. Please let me know if there is anything you need from me.

Thank you for the time, effort, and resources it takes to make this valuable program possible. Your love and generosity in providing books to our students for their homes is heartfelt.

I am honored that you chose to help Turner. We hope that we can continue to grow and build this partnership.


Deborah Meylan
Principal, Turner Elementary School, Antioch

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I want to thank each of you for your hard work as well as your heart. Clearly your heart is in your work! We are grateful that you are giving of yourselves and accomplishing so much.

Patty Grant
Director, Inmate Services
Contra Costa County
Office of the Sheriff

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Shirley & Parent Power! Team,

Words cannot express how happy I am to finally see "our dream" become a reality ... and to receive such positive feedback from Angela, her staff and the men. Wow! It has truly been an extraordinary journey and I feel honored to have contributed in a small way to its birth. We never lost the vision ... Parent Power is on its way now ... and thank you all for the wonderful labor of love you are doing for the families. I believe that we are making a statement to everyone that "Parenthood Matters" whether the parent is incarcerated or not. I believe that there is no limit to what we can accomplish; working collaboratively for the good of others. Many blessings and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Jeannie Cummings, MA, CFT, Paralegal, Life Coach
Coordinator, Lift Every Voice
Family Maternal Child Health

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I am extremely excited to introduce you to Shirley, the Director of REading ADvantage, Inc. Shirley contacted me today about setting up a parent workshop with our BIH clients to discuss the benefits of reading to their babies during pregnancy and after. The initial workshops are 1 hour with a 15-30 minute 30-day follow up session with the moms to check on their progress and provide additional support and free books. During the main workshop they'll discuss reading strategies and the moms will receive free books. Shirley is also donating multicultural books to our Resource center/library and I will drop them off to you once I receive them Thursday.

Their website has wonderful information about their program. They partner with the African American Baby Shower Collaborative, Early Headstart, and African American Health Conductors programs to conduct similar workshops. They are also piloting a program with Public Health Nursing that enables PHNs to conduct presentations during their home visits. Reading Advantage also works with Lift Every Voice (a FMCH program) and West County Detention Facility's Parenting Inside Out program, which provides children with recorded readings of storybooks read by their incarcerated parents.

Mariana Dailey
Senior Health Education Specialist
Family, Maternal and Child Health Programs

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The REadingADvantage, Inc. program offers a dynamic approach to encourage reading for our non-native English speaking adult students. Their fresh and enthusiastic presentation outlines the significance of parents reading at least 20 minutes each day with their child. The benefits are supported by research which they share with our students.

During the presentation, the students promise to read with their children at least 20 minutes a day for the 30 days following the presentation. The accountability lies with the parent. They have seen the statistics, and they realize that they can have an impact on their children's academic success.

The program and presentation are not without their challenges. Our low Literacy students found it difficult at times to understand the information presented, and it was necessary to simplify some of the materials. The team warmly accepted the suggestions and continued to modify their presentations to fit the students' language needs.

The highlight of the program, of course, is the return visit by the Reading Advantage team after 30 days. They check in with the students about how often they were able to read with their child and their feelings about the experience. Each student then receives a book for each child in their family. The sense of achievement and satisfaction is apparent as each student is given books for their children.

We are grateful to the REadingADvantage program and team for providing this enriching opportunity for our students and their families.

Beth Lenahan, Program Assistant
ESL Family Literacy Program, Mt. Diablo Adult Education

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Thank you! I know you made an impact on the residents. We feel grateful that you were able to help the young mothers bond with their children even when they are in a situation where they feel helpless; you helped them feel hopeful. Thanks again!

Julia Robinson, Supervisor
Girl's Unit, CCC Juvenile Hall

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Reading Advantage was a success yesterday! Deborah worked with 3 girls on Shasta (Juvenile Hall) and they responded really well to her and to the presentation. They participated and shared as they learned about the importance of reading to their own children. The girls also seemed to really value the experience of recording themselves reading a book and knowing that their little ones were going to get to receive it and hear their voices. One girl got emotional as she ended her story and another girl asked when the program would be coming again because she liked it so much.

Thank you everybody for your help and for allowing REadingADvantage to come in. It would be great to coordinate again for the next round of residents who are mothers and fathers!

Amanda Kuzio, MFT
Central County Mental Health Probation Liaison

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It is with enthusiasm that I support REadingADvantage Inc. The staff at the Brentwood Library has partnered with REadingADvantage several times over the past year, and has been impressed with their heartfelt dedication and commitment toward promoting children and parents reading together. We have joined them in workshops with adult students in the Liberty Adult Education ESL program, both adult and teen moms at Golden Hills Community Church, parents at both Pioneer and Marsh Creek Elementary schools, and teen moms in the Liberty High School District. During every presentation the group from REadingADvantage discusses not just the importance of reading to the very youngest of children, but why it is important. Their audience is engaged, and the evaluations from their workshops show that their message is succeeding.

The library is extremely proud to partner with REadingADvantage in its efforts to reach out to parents and families about the importance of reading. The library shares a similar mission, and appreciates that we can share what resources we can offer the families that they will be able to use for a lifetime of learning.

Liz Fuller, Senior Community Library Manager
Brentwood Library

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On behalf of the Pittsburg and Bay Point Libraries, I am pleased to support REadingADvantage Inc.'s reading workshops. REadingADvantage's workshop goal is to equip parents with an understanding of the importance of reading to their children. Not only do they provide information and encouragement to parents, they also give parents books so they can start building home libraries which will help put their knowledge into practice.

REadingADvantage supports the library's main goals of encouraging reading and providing programs and services to support literacy. REadingADvantage has partnered with both the Pittsburg and Bay Point Libraries when presenting workshops in the two communities.

REadingADvantage's workshops provide support to parents which in turn can help prevent some of children's academic and social struggles. Any program that supports parents reading to their children will have a lasting, positive effect on a community.

Becky Nielson, Youth Services Librarian
Pittsburg Library

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Village Community Resource Center is a community based nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide information, support, and coordination of resources to empower and improve the quality of life of disadvantaged children and their families in a culturally sensitive environment. We do this through programs in the following three areas: education, health, and social services.

I am excited to be partnering with REadingADvantage as their program complements our literacy services by providing parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to make reading a regular part of family life. I have been very impressed by the expertise, organization, and professionalism of the REadingADvantage board members and staff. Additionally, the Children and Parents Reading Together Program provides learning opportunities which are relevant to our clients and includes bilingual materials (Spanish/English) which are presented in a clear and focused manner. I believe this program, provided by REadingADvantage, is vitally important to the families it serves as it reinforces the importance of reading in the home. We look forward to continuing to partner with REadingADvantage in the coming years.

Kirsten Rigsby, Executive Director
Village Community Resource Center

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Liberty Adult Education is very fortunate to have such a great partnership with REadingADvantage, Inc. (READ). READ and the library held an event at our school to present reading and library resources. They gave away free books to over one hundred of our students to encourage reading in the household. It was a "BIG" Success. We at Liberty Adult School, thank you for your support and in helping to educate our students.

Debbie Norgaard, Adult Education Coordinator
Liberty Adult Education, Brentwood, California.

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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: January 26, 2021