Reading together is a simple yet powerful way to help children learn about language and the world, and build literacy skills that will help them be successful in school.
When an adult and a child read together, it helps children build their vocabulary, oral language, and listening comprehension skills. It’s an opportunity for adults to model proficient reading, including reading with fluency and good expression. Reading fiction books helps children develop a deeper understanding of how stories work. Reading nonfiction books about topics like plants, animals, and space helps build knowledge and understanding about the world around them. Along with classroom instruction that explicitly teaches children to read written language, these ingredients combine to help all children become strong readers in elementary school.
The Read Together campaign, developed in 2023 by Read Charlotte and a group of 16 partner organizations, was motivated by local data. In spring 2023, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools staff shared a report with the school board about the reading levels of Black and Hispanic third grade students, showing that more than 90% of those students needed language skill supports.
Development of these important language skills begins early in life, well before children start school. Reading together early and often can help support that development.
The Read Together campaign aims to have more children in Mecklenburg County experience reading together, and the groups involved in the effort are working toward that goal through raising awareness around the importance of the practice, creating resources like ReadTogetherCLT.org, and helping to identify and remove possible barriers.