You are here

News Release - CDE launches campaign on importance of reading to children at home

CDE launches campaign on importance of reading to children at home

DENVER – To increase awareness of the importance of early literacy, the Colorado Department of Education today launched a public information campaign to encourage and empower parents to make reading part of their daily routine with their children. 

The campaign is required by legislation passed in 2019 to revamp the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ Act) -- a statewide initiative enacted in 2012 to improve literacy for children in kindergarten through third grade with the understanding that the ability to read, digest information and think critically is foundational to future academic success. 

Research shows that students who struggle with reading by the end of the third grade rarely reach the academic level of their grade-level peers and are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Unfortunately, more than half of all Colorado third-graders are not meeting grade-level expectations in reading, so they may struggle with more challenging academic content in future years. And roughly 16% of kindergartners through third-graders have been identified with a significant reading deficiency that can further delay their ability to learn how to read.

“Without learning to read, a child can grow up and survive, but it will be more difficult for them to thrive,” said Katy Anthes, Colorado’s commissioner of education. “Reading to your children early and often builds a skill critical to unlocking their future potential. We’re proud to launch this important campaign today to ensure the success of Colorado’s children in the future.”

As part of the campaign, parents and caregivers will be encouraged to find opportunities to read with their young children beginning long before they start school. It is important for parents to understand they do not need to be teachers and don’t have to spend hours reading every day in order to foster interest. Singing songs, playing games, reading street signs and pointing out the names of common items also help to build a child’s vocabulary and develop eventual reading ability.

The Colorado General Assembly and the State Board of Education have made early literacy a top priority. The legislature allocated $500,000 annually to the campaign, requiring the department to contract with a vendor to conduct the campaign. Cactus, a local advertising and marketing firm was selected last fall and began with a research program to better understand the lifestyle and mindset of parents in order to develop campaign messages and activities that would resonate and help them understand the importance of supporting their child’s reading at home.

The research confirmed that parents today want what’s best for their children, yet  they are incredibly busy and may often have trouble finding time or energy to read with their young children. The campaign theme places reading on the same level as other fundamental needs of young children -- food, water, shelter and love.  

The campaign will include social media, digital video, broadcast television advertising and a website at ReadWithMe.Today that provides parents with tips and resources to support their children’s reading progress. The website includes materials parents, community members and organizations can use to support reading at home. Youth serving organizations and libraries will be engaged to spread the word and help encourage parents.