Raising a Reader MA

young students raise habds and a classroom teacher calls on them
A teacher speaks to a class of youg children, several of whom are raising their hands.

Raising A Reader Massachusetts (RAR-MA) is an evidence-based early literacy and family engagement organization with a mission to close the literacy opportunity gap among children 0-6 in high need communities by helping families develop and practice shared home reading habits. Our program in Metro Boston addresses a critical gap in school readiness and basic literacy skills among high-need young children by providing families with both tools and strategies to incorporate literacy practices into their daily routines. First, our signature Red Book Bag Rotation program gives children a weekly rotating library of high-quality, developmentally and culturally relevant books to share at home with their families. Second, multilingual educational workshops, complemented by twice weekly text messages, a multilingual video, and other support services, educate parents in interactive dialogic reading strategies so they can read stories at home in ways that support their children’s language development and literacy skills.

Our annual program evaluation data show that participating families, particularly those with the fewest reading routines, increase both their reading frequency and the quality of reading time. Our model is supported by more than 30 years of research showing that being regularly read to by a parent or caregiver before kindergarten is a significant factor impacting a child’s academic success. With the support of the Hestia Fund, RAR-MA, parents, and community partners, working together, have the power to transform the education trajectory of children in high need communities.

Hestia previously funded Raising a Reader MA for three years, and this will be the first year of new funding. Hestia’s grant of $20,000 will support their core programming for the Metro Boston area.