In support of literacy and at-home learning during the pandemic, throughout July and August, educational nonprofit Child360, Quality Start Los Angeles—the early childhood program rating and improvement system for L.A. County—and Scholastic teamed up to give away bilingual English/Spanish board books for kids up to age five to more than 54,000 families in Southern California. Each book will be accompanied by a Child360 literacy toolkit, featuring tips and strategies for parents and guardians to enhance the reading experience with their child.

Heather Harris, director of provider operations at Child360, said in a statement, “Eighty-five percent of a child’s brain develops in the first three years of life—and reading is a wonderful way to nurture your child’s growth and curiosity. We hope by growing home libraries for families who might otherwise have limited access to books, we encourage confidence in reading for pleasure, and at the same time, advance cognitive development. In these times when many libraries and child care centers are closed, giving parents reading guidance and books is more important than ever. The earlier children enjoy reading, the better.”

Michael Haggen, chief academic officer at Scholastic Education, added, “Access to books at home is a critical component to fostering a lifelong love of reading in all children. When a child is surrounded by rich texts and language, they know that the people in their life value reading and they too will grow up to become skilled, joyful readers.”

The initiative was made possible by an Equitable Learning Opportunities Grant awarded by the California Department of Education to QSLA. Child360 worked with Scholastic to acquire the board books for distribution. The grant also funded QSLA to develop virtual trainings so that educators can provide better distance learning for students.