One In Three Children Enter Kindergarten Unprepared To Learn, And This Lack Of Literacy Is What Inspires Her To Bridge The Gap In Her Home State With A Really Unique Program

It was not long until she was introduced to the Founding Executive Director of Raising A Reader MA through her work on the library committee and learned about the organization’s critical mission.

“During one of the book fairs, a friend suggested I meet the Executive Director of Raising A Reader Massachusetts, Donna DiFillippo. She was so engaging, and I loved the mission,” Christine said.

Raising A Reader Massachusetts is an early literacy family engagement organization that works with families and children from birth through age six in under-resourced communities throughout Massachusetts. The flagship affiliate of Raising A Reader is an independent nonprofit that works to empower parents to be their children’s first teachers.

Using an evidence-based model that draws on over 35 years of research, RAR-MA shares dialogic reading techniques and encourages parents to ask their kids open-ended questions. The organization also provides culturally relevant and age-appropriate books for families via its Red Bag Rotation Program.

Christine first joined RAR-MA as an Operations Manager in 2010, where she was able to understand more about the program and the needs in her community. Then, as her family responsibilities shifted, she was able to take on more at the organization– first becoming Vice President of Finance before being appointed Executive Director in 2017.

“As I learned more about the program and truly enjoyed the books with my children, I kept taking on more responsibility– as my time as a working mom would allow. It was such a happy experience, and I was proud to be a part of such an impactful organization with a great return on investment,” Christine explained.

“I can’t think of a better way to invest than to support our youngest learners and future leaders with a lifetime of opportunity. I may have a less-traditional path than some, but I love to apply my for-profit experience in the nonprofit world. And I am so passionate about reading and books and self-improvement, and I have this great opportunity to combine a passion with a role.”

Why Early Literacy Is The Ultimate Return On Investment

Did you know that by the time a child reaches just 5 years old, their brain is already 90% developed? This means that the first five years of a child’s life is a critical developmental window– one that can even determine long-term success.

But, there is one simple act that can both bring parents and kids together while fostering a strong foundation in learning: reading.

According to over 35 years of research and 39 independent evaluations, parents or caregivers regularly reading to their child before kindergarten has been found to be the most significant factor impacting a child’s academic success.

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