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Literacy Resources

The statistics are startling, and the Heart of America Foundation® is determined to change them. The resources listed below these statistics are part of the solution, and we encourage you to work with us and them to make a difference in these children's lives.


  • Access to printed materials has been found to be the "critical variable affecting reading acquisition." (2)
  • Thirty-seven percent of all fourth grade children in the United States are reading at below basic levels. (functionally illiterate) (1)
  • Inability to read is linked to poverty, dependence on welfare, unemployment, and crime. (3)
  • The gap is widening between the reading skills of the highest and lowest performing students. The best students are reading better while the worst students are falling further behind. (7)
  • Communities ranking high in reading achievement tests have: an abundance of books in public libraries, easy access to books in the community at large, and a large number of textbooks per student. (2)
  • The home environment - specifically the availability of reading material - is a stronger predictor of later academic achievement than socioeconomic status. (3)
  • On average, children in economically depressed communities have 0-2 age appropriate books in their homes. (2)
  • Children in middle-income communities have an average of 54 books in their homes. (2)
  • Children in high-income communities have an average of 199.1 age appropriate books in their homes. (2)
  • Sixty-one percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. (2)
  • A child from a low-income family enters kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of 3,000 words, while a child of a middle-income family enters with a listening vocabulary of 20,000 words. (5)
  • 12.9 million children in the United States live in poverty. (4)
  • Fourth-graders who reported having 25 books or more at home had higher scores on the NAEP reading test than children who reported they didn't have that many books. (7)
  • Thirty-seven percent of American children live in low-income families. -No Child Left Behind
  • There is almost a 90% probability that a child will remain a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade if the child is a poor reader at the end of first grade. -Public Library Association
  • Students who do more reading at home are better, more proficient readers and have higher math scores. -National Education Association


  1. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Fourth-Grade Reading, 2003.
  2. Jeff McQuillan, the Literacy Crisis, California State University, 1998.
  3. Bridges to literacy, David K. Dickenson, 1991.
  4. Children's Defense Fund.
  5. Hart & Risley, 1995.
  6. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Fourth-Grade Reading, 2001.
  7. National Center for Education Statistics,

Literacy Resources

We encourage you to engage your students in these resources which further literacy and give students the tools they need to read, succeed and make a difference. Together, we can change the statistics!

US Department of Education

WETA Reading Rockets

National Center for Family Literacy

Center for the Book

Chip & Cookie Read Aloud Foundation

Read Across America

Verizon Reads Literacy Campus

The Literacy Web at the University of Connecticut

National Institute for Literacy


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