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Employers are significant stakeholders in the community and have the resources to make a real difference in the education of children. Employers can:

  • Encourage employees who are parents and grandparents to read and write with their children and grandchildren.
  • Encourage customers to read and write with their children. Set up a supervised reading area for children while they wait for their families to shop. Place children’s books and children’s magazines in lounge areas or waiting rooms. Place word games on placemats to encourage reading and writing.
  • Establish a lending library in the workplace so employees can take books and other reading materials home to their children.
  • Set up high-quality, educational preschools and child care centers at or near work sites. Set up an educational after-school program for your employees’ children. Include a well-stocked selection of books.
  • Allow employees to use paid time each month to volunteer as reading tutors at local schools or child care centers. In partnership with reading specialists at your local school or college, support tutor training. Consider adding a multilingual component to your tutoring program.
  • Help build coalitions to coordinate literacy efforts in the private sector. Contact your local newspapers, school districts, and other businesses to create district or regional efforts.
  • Provide books, videos, consultants, and other resources to schools. Refurbish school libraries and reading centers to serve as the center of the school’s literacy activities. Help schools modernize their teaching materials and equipment, including those to help children with special needs.
  • Start a community reading program. Provide space at your workplace. Provide transportation for students and tutors. Encourage your employees to volunteer.
  • Support after-school and summer school programs. Often employers can play a key role in bringing together schools and other community and cultural resources to start or expand programs.
Excerpted from: Every Child a Reader: How Citizens, Public Leaders, and Communities can help. (July, 1999). Start Early, Finish Strong How to Help Every Child Become a Reader. America Reads Challenge, U.S. Department of Education.
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