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It’s such a simple pleasure, one that comes with real world rewards—spending time with kids while sharing the enjoyment of a good book.

Reading to kids is the single most important activity a parent or caregiver can do to promote early brain development and lifelong learning success. By simply reading aloud 15 minutes every day to their kids, parents have the power to ensure their children are reading proficiently by third grade.

Facts About Reading to Kids

The importance of reading is a critical bridge to success in school, work and life. When children read better, they imagine more richly, develop more vocabulary and engage in critical thinking—skills that lead to college and career, and the building blocks for a good quality of life. Studies show that:

  • Children are learning to read until third grade. By fourth grade they should be reading to learn
  • After fourth grade, coursework gets harder and reading proficiency becomes more challenging
  • Students who don’t read well have increasing difficulty keeping up, leading to bad grades, disengaging from school, and dropping out
  • In fact, children who aren’t reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school*

* Annie E. Casey Foundation Study

Early Literacy and Reading Programs in Orange County

As the first United Way on the west coast to rally our neighbors to Read Aloud 15 Minutes to kids, our early grade reading programs enjoy tremendous success among the administrators, parents and students who share our commitment to child literacy and early education.


Our OC Reads initiative uses a collaborative approach to teaching kids to read early. By bringing together more than 100 partners (ranging from schools to pediatric offices to libraries to after-school programs) students learn to read by the third grade—a critical age on the path to academic success. Parents too, play an active, ongoing role in their children’s literacy.


Read Aloud 15 Minutes encourages parents to read aloud to their kids 15 minutes every day from birth to age five. Reading aloud helps children engage in stories, to talk, learn and expand their view of the world.

Watch kids celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday by reading aloud

Orange County United Way is helping prepare our next generation to live happy, healthy, productive lives through early grade reading and literacy programs. It’s one of the most important steps in meeting United Way’s

FACE 2024 education goal: to cut the high school dropout rate in half by 2024.

Why Read Aloud?

Language Development

The number of words that child knows on entering kindergarten is a key predictor of his or her future success

Instill a Love of Reading

Your example demonstrates that reading is important, pleasurable and valued

Knowledge Gained and Shared

Kids books are a pleasure, yes, and they are also informative–children can learn something new as you read out loud

Literacy Skill Building

Vocabulary. Phonics. Familiarity with the printed word. Storytelling. Reading comprehension. Reading aloud builds literacy and reading skills!

Brain Development

From birth to age 3 are critical years in the development of language skills


Is anything better than sharing a good book?

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