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.
WHY IS READING SO IMPORTANT?
Reading proficiency among school children has been relatively flat in Benicia Unified School District with approximately 50% of students meeting or exceeding standards as measured by the State of California assessment. That means that about half of our 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. We must 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!
We are committed to all students reading on grade level by the third grade and staying on grade level throughout their TK-12 educational journey.
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!
BROAD COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
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, Soroptimists, Benicia Bookshop, Valero, and City department staff including Benicia Public Library, Benicia Parks and Community Services, Benicia Police & Fire Departments, local Benicia preschools, community organizations, and individual community members.
We are grateful for our sponsors that donate time, products and financial support to make Benicia Reads programming a success. Thank you to our generous sponsors.
Walk Up and Down First Street in search of alphabet letters. Name pictures, letters, and sounds. Hear alphabet poems & stories. Get a free book!
Stories Around the World
Use your Stories passport to travel around the world and hear stories from different countries and continents. Do some multi-cultural arts and crafts. Hear a multi-cultural storyteller. Get a free book!
Books and Blankets in the Park
Enjoy a brand new book, which is your to keep, on a blanket in City Park. Do some literary arts and crafts. Watch a performance! Take home a free book.