Nothing to Read on Their Own

“Children who live in poverty have fewer books in their home, sometimes none. Fewer books in their neighborhood, fewer bookstores. They go to schools with inferior classroom libraries, school libraries, etc. You can have the best teaching in the world, and it’s not going to help when children are hungry, undernourished, ill, and have nothing to read on their own.

“The more people read for pleasure – free voluntary reading – the higher their literacy scores. We have an astonishing amount or research showing this is true. You can have the best teaching in the world, and it’s not going to help when children are ill, undernourished, and have nothing to read on their own.
— Dr. Steven Krashen, professor emeritus, USC

Below is a short, clear overview of Dr. Krashen’s findings about access to books, condensing decades researching in the field. His presentation is directed to the need for classroom and school libraries, but his research also relates to the need for bookstores and general access to books.

For more details, see the full report Krashen presented Why Invest in Libraries (PDF) to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education (2/11/14).

Thanks to Dr. Jesse Turner, professor of Literacy, Elementary, and Early Childhood Education at Central Connecticut State University, for sharing this source.

May 27 Memorial Cookout

May 27, 2017. We Act Radio. Memorial Cookout and Bookstore Launch

Some of those joining together for community bookstore launch event: Courtney Davis (L), teacher and author of A is for Anacostia; Thomas Byrd, Education Town Hall Radio Host; fellow Ballou SHS alum, musician Sugar Bear; We Act Radio co-founder, Kymone Freeman. Front right: radio host LJM, who organized much of the event.

Picture Books and Their Consequences

“The average child growing up in a middle-class family has been exposed to 1,000 to 1,700 hours of one-on-one picture book reading. The average child growing up in a less economically stable family, in contrast, has only been exposed to 25 hours of one-on-one reading.” (J. McQuillan, The literacy crisis: False claims, real solutions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998.)

“Because low-income children have limited access to books, they also likely miss out on the stimulating parent-child interactions around books and stories, in particular, the read-aloud. and without the read-aloud, children are deprived of the opportunity to learn about their world, acquire more sophisticated vocabulary beyond their everyday language, and understand how decontextualized language works, which is the beginning of abstracting information from print.”

From Make Every Student Count
Family and Community Engagement 2013 Research Compendium

Read the “Access to Books” section  of the report (PDF)

from FACE Research Compendium

(This is a compendium of research produced by many scholars in many circumstances; however,  note that FACE is sponsored by Scholastic Books, an organization with an obvious interest in proliferation of books.)

DC Culture Cookout July 22

Proceeds from #EverythingDC DC Culture Cookout benefit the Charnice Milton Community Bookstore and Check It Enterprises. July 22, 1 – 9 p.m. $10 donations. The event will be held in the “secret garden” behind We Act Radio and Check It Enterprises, 1918 and 1920 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.

Performances include Sugar Bear, featuring EU (Experience Unlimited), and Ja’Ness.

EU (Experience Unlimited) is one of the original Washington DC Go-Go bands. Fronted by founding member Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott, the original members all attended Ballou High School (currently the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary). The band chose the name Experience due to their respect for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Unlimited because they did not want to limit the range of their music. Their early regional hits included EU Freeze, Lock Your Butt, and Knock ‘Em Out Sugar Ray. Although they are best known for their Grammy nominated, massive worldwide hit Da-Butt from Spike Lee’s “School Daze” soundtrack, EU scored hits with Salt & Papa (Shake Your Thang), with rap innovator Kurtis Blow (Party Time), and on their own with Buck Wild and Taste of Your Love. Da Butt won Soul Train’s best R&B/Soul Single, Group in 1989.

Ja’Ness is a singer/songwriter/guitarist recognized locally and nationally for her music and efforts to spread positivity. (Visit for more information.)