Reading Matters

Screen shot 2013-08-01 at 2.15.05 PM


Have books in your home and read to your children 30 minutes a day (1,000 hours) from birth to age 5.


Build their vocabulary, help their written expression, expand their imagination, and motivate them to read more. Their school success will dramatically increase.

The road to success starts on day one!


Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 12.44.30 PM


Did you know?

90% of brain connections develop in the first 3 years of life.


~ Less than half of children between birth and 5 are read to everyday.
~ The cost of illiteracy to businesses and taxpayers is approximately $20 billion per year.
~ In low-income neighborhoods there is approximately 1 book for every 300 children.

In Joplin…

~ Less than half of our five year-olds entering kindergarten know the parts of a book and its functions.
~ BUT…75% show an interest in books and reading!

Click Here to read the importance of reading.

Here are some of the local community agencies that offer resources centered around reading:

What we’re doing to make a difference:

Bright Futures Joplin has called together a group of community leaders to help us bring “all hands on deck” to attack the issue of early literacy in Joplin. Though the committee is in the early stages of planning our approach, we have been doing research on evidence-based practices that have been proven successful around the nation and working to model our combined efforts after those approaches.

Community Awareness – Our first step in this effort was to put together a widespread Community Awareness Campaign.  TV and Radio PSAs have been running on various stations throughout the Joplin area that emphasize the importance of reading.  Special thanks to Zimmer Radio, AMI Radio, KSN/KODE TV, and Fox for making giving our PSAs priority airtime!

The Little Blue Bookshelf – Currently, we are partnering with The Little Blue Bookshelf Project from United Way MoKan.  “The Little Blue Bookshelf project places bookshelves stocked with gently-used or new books appropriate for children from birth – 3rd grade in the community where families with young children visit. Primarily, the project focuses on families experiencing stressful situations or crisis, and encourage children to visit the shelf and choose a book to keep and share. These books have been donated by community members.”  Bright Futures Joplin partner businesses and agencies are helping to gather books, restock shelves, and make connections.  We are very excited about this project!

New Baby Gifts – The Reading Matters Committee is working hard also to help get literacy materials in the hands of the parents of all newborn parents in the Joplin area.  We have purchased and are getting ready to begin putting new books, literature, and a promotional reusable neoprene bib with the reminder to “Read to Me: 30 minutes, Every Child, Every Day” on it into the hands of every new mom.  We are also working with area agencies such as the Health Department, the Joplin Public Library, and Parents as Teachers, and LifeChoices to combine efforts to educate parents that these agencies serve about the importance of Reading.  Together, we hope that as we focus on this important message, and that as it’s consistently communicated, we will see improvement.

Born Learning Trails – We are excited that we’ve had the opportunity to partner with Success by Six and several other like-minded organizations to open up a Born Learning Trail for little ones to bring nature and learning together!  Click here to see!

Lend & Learn Library – Another awesome Success by 6 program is the Lend & Learn Library!  Located at the United Way of SWMO office, this library lends toys, books, and all sorts of fun things for little ones to learn and play with.  Click here to learn more.


If you would like to partner with us in this effort, please contact or call the office at 417-625-5200, ext. 2031.