One Book 4 Colorado, started in 2012, gives away over 70,000 copies of the same book to each 4-year-old in the state in English and Spanish through public libraries, Reach Out and Read Colorado clinics, and Denver Preschool Program classrooms.
The privately-funded program is a collaboration between Lt. Governor Joe Garcia’s office, Reach Out and Read Colorado, Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, public and military libraries statewide, the private sector, and the nonprofit and foundation communities. Modeled after the successful Preschool One Book, One Denver program, both programs stem from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy skills and helps families serve as their children’s first and most important teachers.
Research shows that 4-year-olds that 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 even more important as research shows that children in low-income families tend to have fewer 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.
The One Book 4 Colorado books each year to date:
- 2012: Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberely
- 2013: Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
- 2014: Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
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.