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Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: Guided by the fact that literacy is essential to lifelong success, Page Ahead provides new books and develops reading activities that empower at-risk children.

Results: Since our founding in 1990, we have given more than three million books to more than 900,000 children.

2018 data from the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test of Seattle students participating in Book Up Summer show an average improvement in reading skills of 2.63 points over the summer for rising first graders and 1.84 points over the summer for rising second graders. Since students from majority low-income communities typically slide back in the summer, to see them actually gaining reading skill is exciting and a powerful endorsement of our work and this summer-reading model.

Target demographics: children identified as economically or educationally at-risk (including those from families experiencing low income, English language learners, and/or struggling readers)

Direct beneficiaries per year: 20,741 children by giving them 195,388 books

Geographic areas served: Washington State

Programs:
Book Up Summer: Every summer, while students from affluent families make progress on their reading skills, students from low-income families often lose ground—even though studies show they progress at comparable rates during the school year. Summer reading loss accounts for roughly 80 percent of the achievement gap between low-income students and their better-off peers. This phenomenon impacts children living in poverty the most, and its effects are cumulative. By the time a low-income student reaches junior high, that annual backslide in reading skill can leave them more than two years behind their better-resourced counterparts. Book Up Summer addresses this problem by reaching approximately 15,000 K-2 students high-poverty elementary schools, giving them 12 books each to read during summer vacation, furnishing them with the resources and incentive necessary to read during the summer and helping them avoid summer learning loss—and ultimately helping to narrow the achievement gap.

Story Leaders: Children from lower-income homes have more limited access to books than their better-off peers. Because of this, preschoolers from low-income families have fewer home and preschool language and literacy opportunities than children from economically advantaged backgrounds—a major reason that they lag behind in reading achievement throughout the school years. Page Ahead’s Story Leaders program aims to close this word gap by empowering educators and families through literacy training and access to books. Story Leaders provides preschool teachers at Head Start and ECEAP (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program) classrooms with specific shared reading techniques to help students actively participate in reading, building their confidence, vocabulary, and early reading skills; we also provide copies of the story-time books for children to take home so they can continue the reading practice with their families. By the end of the school year, each student will have received eight different books from in-class story times.

Story Times: Children need early reading exposure—pre-literacy skills like print awareness, the ability to sit still and listen to a story, and exposure to a high number of words are the foundation of later reading success. Page Ahead's Story Time program sends trained volunteers into preschool and kindergarten classes monthly to read books, sing songs, and do crafts on a theme, helping children to connect joyfully with reading.

Books for Kids: Page Ahead was originally founded under the name "Books for Kids" in 1990, and we still distribute books through that program by providing brand-new books to other organizations that serve underresourced kids across Washington State, with a particular emphasis on partnering with groups operating in rural areas.

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for Page Ahead since 1997. I have worked in the office cataloging books, filling book orders for the schools, photographing distribution events, creating story time felt board kits, and a host of other needed tasks. For all those years there was a never-ending stream of feedback from the children who cherished the new books and the teachers who were grateful for the new books for their children and enthusiastic about the response they saw when the books came. I loved hearing the comments from the children when they were selecting their books: "I love my bug book"; "Can I take 2?"; "Oh, I can read this one to my sister!" The magic of someone reading to them from the books could calm a rowdy group to be a spellbound group of children. The group wouldn't always be silent because the stories would prompt lot of questions. I'm proud to have been a part of getting so many thousands of books into the hands of children who in many cases had never had a new book of their own.

Jack S.2

Donor

Rating: 5

Page Ahead does excellent work helping to give children in low-income areas better access to reading materials. I have loved receiving the letters and drawings from the kids who have benefited from donations.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I used to volunteer for Page Ahead and it was such wonderful experience! I was excited to be part of an organization that put so much time and effort into helping kids get enthusiastic about reading. They work hard to ensure that the books and methods used are proven to promote a future of life-long learning for the kids.

Donor

Rating: 5

The absolute best of the best. My experience with page ahead far outreaches the abilities, ideas, and productivity of most if not all other programs. Their attributed was even noticed by the govoner of Washington. their teaching abilities, their movement of their program is outstanding.

Marcia R.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

While I am not currently a volunteer, I have served Page Ahead in the past by being at the schools and supporting children choose their Summer Read-Up books. What excitement and delight these children showed, often wanting to choose books for a younger brother or sister as well. In Covid times, libraries are often closed and books can be expensive. Page Ahead plays an essential role of ensuring children have books to read at home for continued reading progress. In addition, the staff and volunteers are committed and dedicated, developing creative possibilities to serve the children and bring greater access equity to the community.

Dave O.2

Donor

Rating: 5

Page Ahead was founded in 1990 as Books for Kids. To date, the organization has distributed over 3.5 MILLION new books to nearly 1,000,000 disadvantaged children in preschools, head-start, elementary schools in underserved communities, and nonprofit organizations throughout Washington State. Their current, marque program, Book Up Summer, has demonstrated results in eliminating the so-called "Summer slide" where young students without access to books in their homes typically fall behind in maintaining their grade-level reading proficiency during the summer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year was my first year of being a story time reader with Page Ahead. I was so impressed with the organization and loved being able to read to kindergarteners. After schools went remote Page Ahead continued to reach students with online "Story time with friends" and their book drive which got books to these young students to have as their own over the summer. I am proud to be part of this organization and what they do to motivate young readers!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From an early age I was taught to value education; however, my family was not able to afford books when I was growing up, and as a child of a single working parent even the library was too far away for the occasional trip until I was able to walk there on my own while carrying my pile of books.
I was fortunate that my aunt indulged my interest in reading and vocabulary building and purchased books for my birthday each year, I had read most of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie books by the time I was 13. Over the years my aunt and I bonded over the annual list of banned books and we would discuss how important it is to be exposed to these stories as it shows where we were as a society at the point of time in which a book was published, and because books allow us to travel absolutely anywhere.
Because of this I'm an ardent supporter of kids having access to books and now volunteer with PageAhead to help ensure this happens. PageAhead is an organization that truly cares about ensuring all kids have access to books, books that kids can call their own especially when they may not have anything else. Between the act of giving and the books themselves, kids are empowered to believe in (and hopefully participate in making) a better world, and who wouldn't support a better world?

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Page Ahead and all the wonderful programs they provide young students. So many kids in our region lack access to libraries and internet. Page Ahead provides books for kids to keep. And, they let the kids pick out which books they want. So very important! The staff is friendly and great to work with. I've volunteered a few times and really enjoyed the experience. Keep up the great work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a kid who grew up in a household with no spare dollars for "luxuries" like books, I know the pain of being the only student not ordering from the book club flyers. Or of not ever having books of my own. That's why I support Page Ahead: they focus on getting books in the hands of kids that need them. And best of all: kids get to select their own books! I believe they've donated over 3 million books since their inception, and they are working hard to increase that number.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This program gave me the chance to see that I could truly bond with some children—but not all— and evoked admiration in me for the young folks who are so talented in helping children and teaching potential helpers like me to do same.

Donor

Rating: 5

I met Page Ahead thru my work at The Boeing Company 30+ years ago. My group supported a book distribution at a grade school. After the students picked their book, we broke up into small groups of 1 adult and 4 students to do a little reading. I was with a 4th grade class and of the 4 students I read with 2 were good readers, but the other two could barely make it thru a page of their new book. Those two had selected books that were more targeted to 3rd graders. It really broke my heart. How were they going to make it if they can't read. The new book up for summer gives students the pick of 12 books so they have lots of reading material for the summer when they are not in school. It has shown that this program truly helps the students stay up and not drop back over the no school summer.

This is truly a great program. I am proud to say I have been supporting this program since my first reading support trip some 30+ years ago. We additional funding, this program can be spread further across the state of Washington to help more students.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Page Ahead for 9 years as a storyteller and it has been a great experience. I keep wanting to volunteer every year because of how much it makes a impact to the students from diverse backgrounds.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a little nervous at first, my wife is the one who loves reading to kids. It was my first Page Ahead reading at the Tacoma Art Museum for special needs kids. I read The Monster at the End of the Book by Jon Stone. Sitting up front, I read the title out loud and many already knew about the book. The kids easily became engaged. They asked questions about Grover's color and said that they were not afraid of monsters even though they made funny faces and wanted me to "Turn the page!". It was easier and faster than I thought it would take and I had a great time.

Debbie Dyko B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Story Time with my kindergarteners is fulfilling and Page Ahead makes it easy. When I began, I had an orientation that helped me practice with examples of what to say and prepare me for reading to the students.
On Mondays, I drop by the office and I pick up a folder on a subject. There are corresponding art projects, songs,extra books and parent information sheets provided to us to use on our Story Time readings. When I’m in the classroom, I begin with a rhyme or finger play to gain attention. I ask open-ended questions and many are written on the books to keep me on track. The teacher is always in the room with me helping when I need assistance and keeping the kids in line so bad behavior is not an issue. It’s easy to interact with the children that are quick to respond but I try to involve all the children equally.
I love seeing the kids having fun with the books, learning and especially how they grow intellectually through the school year. Plus, I look forward to those Mondays because I really feel awesome afterwards.
this year, I didn’t do a Story Time because my teacher retired. It’s only December, I miss it so much. I forgot how little time it takes- just an hour in the classroom. I’m signing up again next year for Story Time.