United We Read is a United Way Worldwide initiative and for Cooke County United Way. Since the conception of our program, Cooke County United Way has given out over 4,000 books in our community.
Our program is designed to encourage young children and their families to make reading a fun and daily activity to supplement school learning. Throughout the year, Cooke County United Way and its partners distribute free books, have reading time with “Celebrity” readers, and S.T.E.A.M. activities for the entire family.
The goal of the United We Read program is to promote reading to and with children. Reading aloud is one of the best ways to help children develop word mastery and grammatical understanding, which forms the basis for learning how to read. The emphasis on talking and reading more to children to increase their vocabularies is based on research by Betty Hart and Todd Risley at the University of Kansas. They found that low-income parents spoke about 620 words to their children in an average hour compared with 2,150 words spoken by more affluent parents. By age 3, children from more affluent homes had heard 30 million more words than children whose parents were low-income. Hart and Risley concluded that the more parents talked and read to their children, the faster children’s vocabularies grew, and the higher the children’s IQ test scores were.
Cooke County United Way is promoting grade-level reading by 3rd grade with information, education, and programs like United We Read. From kindergarten to 3rd-grade children are “learning to read”. Beginning in 4thgrade, children “read to learn”. Therefore, it is important that we engage the entire community to help our children acquire the skills to be successful students.
For more information on how you or your company can become involved, please contact us