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Raising Readers
in the Heartland

Raising Readers, Creating Opportunities!

Literacy Facts

By the age of 3, roughly 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed.

Source: Ypsilanti (2005) Study by High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

The developing brain triples in the first year alone and is virtually fully formed by the time a child enters kindergarten.

Source: “What’s Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life” (Eliot, 1999)

The average child from a professional family hears 215,000 words per week; a child from a working-class family hears 125,000 words per week, and a child from a family receiving welfare benefits hears 62,000 words per week.

Source: Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children (Hart and Risley, 1995)

Parents who just talk as they go about their daily activities expose their children to 1000-2000 words every hour!

Source: The Social World of Children Learning to Talk (Hart and Risley, 1999).

Children’s academic successes at ages 9 and 10 can be attributed to the amount of talk they hear from birth through age 3.

Source: Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children (Hart and Risley, 1995).

Children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to those who are read to less than three times a week.

Source: US Department of Education (Denton and West, 2002).

Children that grow up in homes with at least twenty books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes.

Source: Evans, Kelly, Sikora, and Treiman (2010).

Across the US, just under half of children between birth and five years of age are read to every day by their parents or other family members.

Source: Russ, Perez, Garro, Klass, Kuo, Gershun, Halfon, and Zuckerman (2007).

One in four children in the US grow up without learning to read.

Source: WriteExpress Corporation, 2014.



Girl Handing Over Books

Our Mission

Raising Readers in the Heartland’s mission is to inspire a life-long love of reading by providing new, quality books for ALL children from birth through the age of ten who live in Polk County.



Young child reading a book on his bed

How RRITH Works

RRITH has two literacy programs available for children that focus on increasing literacy skills of all children from birth through age ten who live in Polk County. Click here to learn more and here to register your child.




boy reading

Contact Us

Raising Readers in the Heartland
5820 NW 142nd Avenue
Polk City, IA 50226
Phone: 515-795-7701
Email: questions@rrith.org
OR fill out our contact form