Children’s Early Literacy Program
United Way of Kern County's Raising A Reader program serves more than 200 children at preschools in Bakersfield, Arvin, Shafter and Delano. Raising A Reader’s mission is to engage parents in a routine of daily “book cuddling” with their children from birth to age five to foster early brain development, parent-child bonding, and early literacy skills critical for school success. Raising A Reader rotates bright red bags filled with award-winning books into children’s homes on a weekly basis. United Way of Kern County's Raising a Reader program focuses on 3- and 4-year-olds in order to prepare them to start kindergarten.
Raising A Reader offers award-winning books that are appropriate for children ages 3-5. Books are chosen for high quality writing, beautiful illustrations, and accurate portrayals of diverse cultures and ethnicities. Because 90% of families in the program reported Spanish as their primary language spoken in the home, our book selections include Spanish and bi-lingual books.
Make a Difference Today!
Here’s your chance to make a difference in the lives of new readers! Help us distribute books to Kern’s low- and moderate-income families, through our Book of the Month Club, New Parent Kits, and Home Libraries.
- $10 Provides Four New Books – Your donation will cover the cost of four new books for new readers.
- $100 Provides a Home Library – Your donation will provide a 15-book library into the home of an at-risk family.
- $125 Sponsors a Raising a Reader Student – Your donation will sponsor one child for an entire year of Raising a Reader programming, exposing them to over 100 different titles.
- $300 Provides a Month of New Parent Kits – Your generous donation will provide 50 New Parent Kits that will be distributed through Kern Medical, Delano Regional Medical Center, Black Infant Health Initiative, and other medical organizations. Kits include a child development guide and a book especially for newborns.
- $500 Sponsors the Book of the Month Club – Your generous gift will cover the costs of running the Book of the Month Club for one month. A special book plate will let over 300 new readers know who you are!
Give the gift of reading today, right HERE!
Raising A Reader Results
- On average, each child is exposed to approximately 100 books per school year
- The number of minutes per day a parent or someone in the household spends reading to their children significantly increased by 29%
- The number of times a parent takes their child to the library increased by 178%
- The frequency of times the child requests a parent or other person in the household to read books increased by 46%
Raising A Reader also connects families to their local public library
At the culmination of the program, each child receives a blue library bag to keep and continue the practice of borrowing books and “book cuddling." After benefitting from the Raising A Reader program, children will enter kindergarten with a love of books and ready to learn to read.
Our goal is to Raise More Readers.
We can with your help.
For more information please contact our Community Impact & Investment Manager, Rachel Hoetker. (661) 834-1489
Book of the Month Club Sponsorship Opportunity
Kids succeed in school when they have books at home and parents who read with them.
Help build home libraries for children in need.
Each month, we distribute books to more than 100 young children (and counting!) along with other important resources to help their families thrive.
- Choose a month
- Your name on each book
- Recognition on UWKC website and social media
Call for information 661-834-1489
Engaging parents in daily reading with their children from birth to five years, fosters healthy brain development, parent-child bonding, and early literacy skills critical for school success.
Raising a Reader Garden Pathways Preschooler enjoys receiving his RAR blue book bag and a balloon after touring Beale Library with book reading & craft time.
Children and families fall in love with reading from the very beginning.
Rachel Hoetker United Way of Kern County's Community Impact Investment Manager reads "Jump Frog Jump" to Richardson Center Preschoolers.
Children who participate in the Raising a Reader program build kindergarten readiness skills.