We are continuing to adhere to the CDPH guidelines, which includes the mandate to wear masks indoors at any of our school sites or facilities.

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Benicia Reads

The April 17th kickoff event is postponed until further notice.



A Partnership between Benicia Unified School District, the City of Benicia and the Community


In the summer of 2019, the Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) invited the City of Benicia to join in a partnership effort focused on improving literacy results for all students.  A BUSD leadership goal of this partnership is to better wrap around families to promote literacy before children reach school age. The City of Benicia agreed to help because community is so core to who we are—we know each other, care about each other and want to help each other.  Businesses, non-profits, service clubs and other community members also joined the effort and Benicia Reads was born.


Reading proficiency among school children has been relatively flat in Benicia Unified School District with approximately 60% of students meeting or exceeding standards as measured by the State of California assessment. That means that 40% of students do not read at grade level which raises concerns about the implications for longer term success of students as they reach adulthood,

We know we can do better.  

A contributing factor to the reading struggle is the advent of many new advancements in the area of technology. While these new advancements are exciting and offer some advantages, they can create distractions in the interactions between parents and their children. In fact, there is evidence indicating our Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten students join our school system with less developed language skills than they did prior to the wide availability of electronics. 

Well-developed language skills at an early age translate to greater success in school and ultimately in life—children dream bigger because reading expands the imagination!


Our vision for Benicia Reads centers on our community coming together to build a culture of literacy and a love of reading and books.  Because literacy development starts at the beginning of a child’s life, it is imperative to focus on families with children between the ages of birth and 5 years old, school children of all ages, and the community at large.  Benicia Reads emphasizes the powerful impact that talking, singing and reading has on the developing mind. Parents, grandparents, older siblings, and everyone who is part of the Benicia community can play a vital role in the literacy development of our children. We are raising awareness of this issue to engage everyone in becoming a community that reads!


We are proud that many organizations have already joined the Benicia Reads initiative including the Benicia Chamber of Commerce, BUSD staff, service clubs such as Benicia Rotary, Kiwanis and Soroptimists, Benicia Bookshop, Valero Benicia Refinery, and City department staff including Benicia Public Library, Benicia Parks and Community Services, Benicia Police Department, and Benicia Fire Department, local Benicia preschools, community organizations such as Another Chapter, Boy Scoutsand Solano First Five, and individual community members representing artists, authors, marketing professionals and business leaders.


A collaborative team of BUSD and City employees along with several other key stakeholders have been working together to plan activities which was set to launch in April 2020, due to current COVID-19 concerns we have postponed the launch.  When we are informed that it is safe to gather again, we will announce our new launch date. The activities at this event are designed to raise awareness and engage everyone in supporting language and literacy development as well as a love of books for our children and our community at large. 

Our kick-off event will be called “Books & Blankets” in City Park. The event will be free and some of the activities include storytelling and a book exchange, and light dinner fare will be provided.  Other events and activities are planned throughout the year; more information is forthcoming on our webpage.  


For more information or to get involved, please contact Project Manager Tina Kister Hardy at beniciareads@beniciaunified.org.