16 Sep
Reader’s Digest Launches Four-Year R.E.A.D. Together Campaign to Promote Parent Involvement in Childhood Literacy

New York—September 16, 2014 –Reader’s Digest Association today announced the launch of the R.E.A.D. Together campaign in partnership with the Reader’s Digest Foundation, a four-year commitment to provide a combination of financial and marketing assistance to promote parent involvement in childhood literacy.  Research has shown that a child’s ability to read on grade level by third grade is a top indicator of high school graduation and career success.   Parent involvement in the early development of a child’s reading skills has been shown to be one of the most crucial interventions for reaching this milestone.

Under the R.E.A.D. Together program, Reader’s Digest will make a $1 million commitment to promote childhood literacy beginning with a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Reader’s Digest Foundation to the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP), a leading early childhood literacy organization that promotes active parental involvement in early literacy and language development with a view to ensuring school readiness. The Foundation’s support will help PCHP expand its services in New York City, Westchester and Milwaukee.

R.E.A.D. stands for Read, Engage, Advance, Develop and Together emphasizes the importance of parents, grandparents and other caregivers as children’s first teachers.  Regardless of income level, family involvement at a very early age is crucial to helping kids start on a path to succeed in school and life.

To kick off R.E.A.D. Together, RDA has created a Pledge To Read campaign, which encourages parents, grandparents, caregivers, family and friends to post photos reading with the children in their lives to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #PledgeToRead.  (Details at rd.com/readtogether.) The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of reading with children for 30 minutes a day. The October issue of Reader’s Digest currently on newsstands features a story on the importance of parents being involved very early on in reading and interacting with children to ensure their development and profiles a successful graduate of the PCHP Program.  Also starting in September, additional information and resources for parents will be featured on ReadersDigest.com, and RDA employees will participate in volunteer programs to further support family literacy and the families being served by R.E.A.D. Together.

“Reader’s Digest has a strong history of making reading an engaging, celebrated element of family life,” said Bonnie Kintzer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Reader’s Digest Association.  “When the company learned about the urgent need to help children reach grade level literacy standards by the third grade, we knew that this was an issue that Reader’s Digest should champion.  We are so pleased to support the expansion of the Parent-Child Home Program’s valuable and effective programs and to raise awareness to parents everywhere as we kick off our R.E.A.D. Together program.”

PCHP has been effectively engaging parents to improve early childhood literacy and learning for 50 years. Research shows that PCHP graduates graduate from high school at the rate of middle class children, 30% higher than their socio-economic peers.

“We are so grateful for all of the support from the Reader’s Digest Foundation and the entire Reader’s Digest Association,” said Sarah Walzer, Chief Executive Officer of the Parent-Child Home Program.  “Research demonstrates that reading well by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward academic success, and ultimately, economic self-sufficiency.  PCHP’s research and proven methodologies over the past several decades show that when parents are involved in helping children learn to read, children’s reading scores improve dramatically.  So our approach is to give parents the tools they need to help foster good reading skills in the home in children at an early age.”

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, currently 67% of U.S. students miss the third grade reading marker, and this number increases to 80% among low-income children.

PCHP’s program provides a two-year cycle of twice weekly home visits to two to four-year-olds and their parents. Using books and educational toys that are gifts to the family, trained home visitors model reading, play, and conversation activities, building language-rich home environments, increasing positive parent-child interaction, and developing the pre-literacy, social and emotional skills that are essential for school readiness.

About Parent Child Home Program

The Parent-Child Home Program’s (PCHP) nationwide network of program sites provides under-resourced families with the necessary tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Since 1965, PCHP has been assisting underserved communities in replicating and expanding this proven school readiness program that builds early parent-child verbal interaction and learning at home.   Through twice-weekly visits by highly trained community-based early literacy specialists, PCHP provides families the skills, materials (books and educational toys), and support to help parents engage and teach their children. Almost 50 years of research shows that the Program effectively increases school readiness, decreases the need for special education services before grade 3 by 50%, and increases participants’ high school graduation rates by over 30% to the same level as their middle income peers.   For more information please go towww.parent-child.org

About The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.

Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) is a family of iconic brands that celebrate reading, sharing and doing among consumers on print and digital platforms.  Our portfolio of products includes our flagship magazine Reader’s Digest; Taste of Home, the world’s largest circulation food publication; The Family Handyman, America’s leading source for DIY; and a suite of Enthusiast titles including Birds & Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm & Ranch Living and Reminisce.

For more than 90 years, we have simplified and enriched the lives of a passionate readership by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting content in family, food, health, home improvement, finance, and humor.  Reader’s Digest casts a global footprint by providing products and services around the world through owned and licensed operations.

Further information about the company can be found at www.rda.com.

Media Contact:

The Reader’s Digest Association

David Press Tel: 917.721.7046