SAN DIEGO – On Tuesday, San Diego County officials and First 5 San Diego announced a joint campaign to increase childhood literacy rates in the region.

HOORAY! For Reading is a new program aimed at encouraging literacy among San Diego’s youngest residents by showing them that they can read and learn anywhere.

“HOORAY! For Reading wants you to know you can read, teach, and learn anywhere you are – the signs on the streets can be read, the colors around us can be observed, and anything can be counted. Reading with children also helps you bond and build a relationship with them. A strong relationship helps children feel loved, safe and secure, building their confidence and resilience.”

Officials involved with the project say that the benefits of literacy in young children are widespread and can provide a child with valuable tools they will use throughout their life.

“We know reading, literacy, and resilience skills have immediate and long-lasting health benefits such as increased cognitive function, memory, vocabulary, empathy, and decreased levels of stress,” said Dr. Kelly Motadel, County Child Health Officer. “As the brain is growing in these early years, reading is the best opportunity for children to develop these skills to be healthy, capable adults achieving their potential.”  

Program participants have access to resources such as free downloadable books, coloring pages, activity sheets, flashcards, and more. The campaign has also been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese to increase the accessibility for families and children in the area.

“Engaging in reading with children helps you bond and build a relationship with them – it’s never too early to start this important lifelong skill,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. “Reading is like food for the brain – let’s nourish it in these early years and beyond.”

For more information on the HOORAY! For Reading campaign, click HERE.