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  • Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gregoire launches 'Read Early, Read Often' campaign

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2012

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced a new campaign, “Read Early, Read Often,” encouraging parents to read to their children at least 20 minutes a day. Gregoire joined Department of Early Learning Director Bette Hyde at Denise Louie Education Center in Seattle, where the governor launched the initiative this morning and read one of her favorite books, “What Grandmas Do Best,” to a group of preschoolers. Hyde shared the story, “Preschool Day Hooray!”

“As kids head to school or preschool this month, it’s too easy to think that they’re getting enough education time in the classroom,” Gregoire said. “We know though that when parents get involved at home, our students have a better chance at succeeding in school and in life. Just 20 minutes a day can not only help make your child a more proficient reader, it will strengthen the bond between parents and their kids.”

According to a 2010 report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, “the ability to read is central to a child’s success in school, lifelong earning potential, and the ability to contribute to the nation’s economy and its security.” Building literacy skills helps children succeed in the long run, and research shows that children who are reading proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school.

“School readiness means ready schools, ready children, ready families and ready communities,” said Hyde. “Reading to children every day, even as little as 20 minutes, gives them an important boost in being ready for success in school and life.”

For reading ideas to try with children, visit the governor’s Read Early, Read Often webpage (http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/education/read/default.asp).

Gregoire’s campaign follows a series of actions during her administration to improve early education in Washington state. In 2006, Gregoire proposed and the Legislature approved the creation of the Department of Early Learning to consolidate more than a half-dozen child care and early learning programs in state government, to build a statewide early learning system that helps give children the best possible start in school. Gregoire also expanded Washington’s pre-kindergarten program by 2,250 children, and signed legislation to provide high-quality preschool programs for all children beginning in 2018.

Additionally, under Gregoire’s administration, the state:
• Expanded the state-funded, all-day kindergarten program to serve more than 20 percent of kindergarteners, focusing on the highest-poverty schools.
• Developed and implemented WaKIDS, a kindergarten skill and development inventory process that helps teachers, parents and early learning providers understand how to best help each child learn and grow.
• Received a four-year (2012–16), $60 million federal Race To The Top grant to implement WaKIDS and a Quality Rating and Improvement System, which works with providers to boost the quality of care.
• Improved the quality of child care by piloting Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system, and increasing state subsidies for children who attend child care in family homes or centers.
• Improved child care safety and quality by adopting new rules for all licensed child care programs.

For more information on Gregoire’s achievements in education, visit: http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/education/education_accomplishments.pdf