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A Guide to Storytime

A guide to storytime
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A Guide to Storytime is Reading by 9’s annual bilingual reading guide for parents and educators. It supports young kids as they develop their reading and literacy skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Lee en Español | Order the guide | Download the guide | Donate

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Dear parents and teachers,

Now more than ever, we recognize the important role that parents, guardians and educators play in children’s success in literacy and learning. With the pandemic, this role has been made more challenging. As we move forward with teaching and learning, whether in math, science or art, we know that literacy provides a crucial foundation. Children need literacy to grow in all aspects of their lives and to understand the world around them.

It’s essential that we ensure our children receive the support they need. Even before the pandemic, far too many children lacked the critical skills needed to engage with reading. More than half of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District who took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress in 2019 did not meet English language arts and literacy standards. This year, students are significantly less prepared than in the past, since the virus unexpectedly pushed schooling online in March.

Reading opens doors. Reading by 9, a program of L.A. Times Public Affairs, seeks to promote and support youth and family literacy. We’re here to help unlock the access and enrichment that literacy can provide.

This year’s Reading by 9 annual parent reading guide was developed in partnership with Ready, Set, Read!, a nonprofit project of Community Partners dedicated to guiding parents through helping young children build a foundation of literacy skills. The guide, available in English and Spanish, is available for free and has tips and ideas for incorporating reading into a child’s daily life. Its recommendations — books, literacy resources and more — highlight the value of encouraging students to read about subjects that interest them.

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The guide is distributed to parents and teachers throughout the United States with the support of donors and help of community-based organizations and schools. It’s also available online at latimes.com/Readingby9.

If you are interested in supporting our efforts, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Reading by 9 Fund as we strive to expand literacy resources for families: calfund.org/reading-by-9-fund.

Thank you for reading!

Chris Argentieri
President and Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Times

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Learn about Ready, Set, Read!

Dear parents, Did you know that what you do at home, more than what happens at school, can determine the size of your child’s vocabulary by second grade?

The nonprofit organization supports parents with childhood literacy across Los Angeles.

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Tips and Tricks

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Math and Literacy

Math is all around us.

You can incorporate math and numbers into your conversations with children using books, your environment and the everyday objects around you. Mathematical literacy is having the ability to use numbers to solve real-world problems. Math is a tool we use to understand the world we live in.

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BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Ages 0-4

  • By Aaron Reynolds
    A rooster fed up with the regular chicken feed leads the charge to create a new feast.

    Bloomsbury USA Childrens
    Buy here

  • By Karen Ehrhardt
    A rooster fed up with the regular chicken feed leads the charge to create a new feast.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Buy here

  • By Jose-Luis Orozco
    A rooster fed up with the regular chicken feed leads the charge to create a new feast.

    Penguin Random House
    Buy here

Ages 5-6

Ages 7-9

  • By Greg Tang
    Riddles, visual clues and rhyming couplets are used to count grapes and teach creative math problem solving techniques.

    Scholastic
    Buy here

  • By Norton Juster
    A young boy named Milo journeys to lands beyond, where he learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock and learns to love the adventures of life.

    Penguin Random House
    Buy here

  • By C.S. Lewis
    Lucy steps through a wardrobe door and discovers Narnia — a land frozen in winter.

    HarperCollins
    Buy here

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Science and Literacy

Science is all around us.

When your child is asking “Why?” or “What is …?” they express their curiosity about how things work and why things are the way they are.

Children naturally use science to explore the world starting at birth. They use their five senses to explore the world and understand its rules. This curiosity leads to experimentation, a process by which we determine something. For example, babies drop toys to explore the concept of gravity and put things in their mouths to explore their world.

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Ages 0-4

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Ages 5-6

  • By Carole Lindstrom
    After a black snake threatens destruction, a young girl must protect the water from harm and corruption.

    Roaring Book Press
    Buy here

  • By Shana Keller
    This story follows a lone firefly as it seeks to connect with the bioluminescence in the ocean it mistakens for its family.

    Sleeping Bear Press
    Buy here

  • By Janice May Udry
    Admiring the beauty of a tree and its simplicity incite childlike wonder. This illustrated book reminds readers that even having just one tree is nice.

    HarperCollins
    Buy here

Ages 7-9

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Art and Literacy

Art makes life beautiful.

How many of your children notice the illustrations in their books? Art is a powerful tool for helping children develop literacy skills. It allows children to make meaning of the words they see on the page. You can reinforce this concept by talking about the pictures with them.

Making art provides joy, helps develop fine motor skills and leads to discussion, exploration and growth. All art is a form of self-expression and a way for children to communicate their ideas and feelings.

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Ages 0-4

  • By Ellen Stoll Walsh
    A sweet introduction to primary and secondary colors thanks to three white mice.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Buy here

  • By Peter H. Reynolds
    When she tells her teacher she’s not an artist, Vashti makes her point by drawing a dot. Watch the dot launch a journey of self-discovery.

    Candlewick
    Buy here

  • By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
    A huge happy frog, a plump purple cat, a beautiful blue horse and a soft yellow frog all take over the pages of this blissful book.

    Henry Holt and Co.
    Buy here

Ages 5-6

  • By Micha Archer
    A heartwarming and eye-catching story of a boy who discovers that poetry is everywhere.

    Penguin Random House
    Buy here

  • By Eric Velasquez
    A young boy experiences the beauty of his grandmother’s Puerto Rican music in a new way when they leave their usual living room setting for a concert.

    Bloomsbury USA Childrens
    Buy here

  • By Rachel Rodríguez
    A vivid portrayal of how artist Georgia O’Keeffe saw the world and reflected it in her paintings.

    Holt’s Books for Young Readers
    Buy here

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Ages 7-9

  • By Monica Brown
    Take a look at an inspiring painter and the animals that influenced her art and life.

    NorthSouth Books
    Buy here

  • By Langston Hughes
    Hughes’ poem “Dream Variation” is beautifully retold, sharing the story of a Black boy’s dream of freedom and hope.

    Penguin Random House
    Buy here

  • By Joanne Liu
    A little boy spends a day at the museum showing us that art can be appreciated in all kinds of ways.

    Prestel Junior
    Buy here

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Local resources

There are many organizations around Los Angeles and Orange counties that families can connect with online to access literacy resources and support services. Take a look at these organizations.

Literacy Programs

826LA

1714 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-3388
Website

Access Books
(310) 284-3452
Website

Common Sense Media
1100 Glendon Ave. 17th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Website

CSUN L.A. Times Literacy Center
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330
(818) 677-7394
Website

News Literacy Project
(714) 479-0294
Website

Parentis Foundation
24012 Calle de la Plata, Suite 400
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 305-2716
Website

Reading Is Fundamental
7250 Bandini Blvd., Suite 209
Commerce, CA 90040
(323) 890-0876
Website

Reading Partners
3452 E. Foothill Blvd., Suite 315
Pasadena, CA 91107
(213) 399-8599
Website

Reading to Kids
1600 Sawtelle Boulevard, Suite 210
Los Angeles, California 90025
(310) 479-7455
Website

Ready, Set, Read!
1000 N. Alameda St., No. 240
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(818) 570-2838
Website

Read to a Child
10940 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-5300
Website

The Book Foundation
5429 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 746-5800
Website

Support Servies

Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors
1000 N. Alameda St., No. 240
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-3216
Website

Allies for Every Child
12120 Wagner St.
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 397-4200
Website



Families Forward Learning Center
980 N. Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 792-2687
Website

Hands Together
201 Civic Center Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 479-0294
Website

Koreatown Youth and Community Center
3727 W. 6th St., No. 300
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 365-7400
Website

Mar Vista Family Center Preschool
5075 S. Slauson Ave.
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 390-9607
Website

Mexican American Opportunity Foundation
6113 Clara St.
Bell Gardens, CA 90201
(562) 928-1357
Website

Orange Children & Parents Together
1063 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 639-4000
Website

Pathways LA
3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 427-2700
Website

Proyecto Pastoral Centro de Alegria
420 N. Soto St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 446-0066
Website

South Central LAMP
892 E. 48th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90011
(323) 234-1471
Website

Libraries

Los Angeles Public Library
72 branches throughout the city
(213) 228-7000
Website

Los Angeles County Library
86 branches throughout the county
(323) 264-7715
Website

Orange County Public Libraries
33 branches throughout the county
(714) 566-3000
Website


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This supplement did not involve the editorial or reporting staff of the Los Angeles Times except where noted.

To order additional copies or download a digital version of the 2020 parent reading guide, visit latimes.com/readingby9. The guide is free to parents, educators and organizations working with children and families. To contact us with comments and questions or to receive more information, email public.affairs@latimes.com.

Los Angeles Times Public Affairs manages philanthropy, community engagement and corporate social responsibility at the nation’s largest metropolitan daily news organization. We broaden perspectives, empower storytellers and inspire our community to question and transform the world around them. For more information, visit latimes.com/readingby9.

For over two decades, Ready, Set, Read! has been bringing families together and making brighter futures possible through our bilingual literacy program that empowers parents to read aloud with their children. Partnering with preschools and kindergartens in underserved Los Angeles communities, we provide free literacy workshops and books to parents and donate classroom libraries to our partner schools. For more information visit readysetread.org.

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