One Book 4 Colorado is the result of collaboration between Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia’s office, Reach Out and Read Colorado, Colorado State Library, public libraries, the private sector, and the nonprofit and foundation communities. It is modeled after the successful Preschool One Book, One Denver program originated by the Denver Preschool Program. Both programs stem from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy and helps families serve as their children’s first and most important teachers.
The first One Book 4 Colorado program was in 2012; the selected book was Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris, which Denver residents voted the winning title from three finalists. The program will continue in 2013, thanks to generous sponsors.
Four-year-olds who have access to books and adults that read to them often will be much more likely to be ready to read when they start kindergarten. For low-income families, access to quality books and early literacy efforts are doubly important as research shows that low-income children have few to no books in their homes and are exposed to 30 million fewer words before the age of four than their higher-income peers. One Book 4 Colorado aims to close this vocabulary gap by getting a book into the home of every four-year-old in Colorado and fostering a culture of reading.
A child must first learn how to read, before he or she can read to learn. Working with early childhood advocates, educators, business and community leaders, the state introduced Colorado Reads: The Early Literacy Initiative in 2012, an effort to help ensure all Colorado children are reading at grade level by the third grade. One Book 4 Colorado is just one of the many community-based partnerships inspired by this movement to help ensure every child is school-ready on the first day of kindergarten.