Raising A Reader

Building Literacy in our Communities


Imagine all of our preschoolers spending hours each week in a parent’s lap, reading their favorite storybooks together. Then envision these same children arriving at school, already in love with the printed page. Imagine Raising A Reader.

Southwest Human Development introduced Raising A Reader to Arizona in 2010. The national program is designed to educate parents about the importance of early literacy skills and how they can build these skills in their young children to help them enter school ready to learn.

Parents attend eight weekly early literacy workshops, and after each, they take home a bag of books to share with their children. Each week, the bag is exchanged for a new set of books. Parents who complete the program receive five high-quality children’s books to keep.

Southwest Human Development has partnered with the Arizona Multihousing Association to offer Raising A Reader to low-income apartment community residents. The community-based format makes it an ideal venue for linking participants to other local resources.  

A Proven Solution
Independent evaluations conducted at the national level show that parents reported a 471% increase in time spent sharing stories with their children (five or more times a week) and Spanish-speaking families increased library visits with their children by 300%. 

See more national research and statistics about the benefits of Raising A Reader at www.raisingareader.org. To learn more about the Raising A Reader program, and the importance of early literacy, watch this interview with PBS.


For more information about Raising A Reader, please contact
Kendra Smiley at (602) 633-8748 or ksmiley@swhd.org.

Questions? Birth to Five HELPINE: 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) Place a callback request.

Funding for
Raising A Reader
provided in part by



Southwest Human Development is proud to partner with


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