Literacy Coalition Announces Exciting Findings about Local Literacy Programming

IL Books 2015 Simply putting a book in the hands of a child can increase that child’s readiness for kindergarten. A Measurement Action Team, co-chaired by Dr. Frank Ridzi, Community Foundation Director of Research and Community Initiatives, announced on Wednesday the significant impact that Imagination Library has had on local children’s school readiness. The Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County brought this program to Syracuse so that children can receive free books once a month from birth to five years old.

28.9 percent more children who had been consistently enrolled in the program were ready for kindergarten as compared to their peers who were not receiving the books. Even after controlling for important factors such as income, race, gender, special education status and first language, those receiving the free books performed better on early literacy tests.

And now, Imagination Library is set to expand throughout Onondaga County, pending budget approval. Imagination Library and the Literacy Coalition have delivered more than 85,000 books to more than 6,000 Syracuse children since the program was introduced to the area five years ago. Once approved by the Onondaga County Legislature, children that range in age from birth to five years old will be eligible to receive a free book in the mail each month.

This research and expansion possibility means that a growing number of children in Onondaga County will likely enter kindergarten more ready to learn and excel in the classroom.

The Community Foundation has been a strong supporter of the Literacy Coalition since its launch in 2008. Peter Dunn, President & CEO, serves as a Leadership Council member. Vice President of Grants and Community Initiatives John Eberle works as a Managing Partner and Executive Committee member for the Literacy Coalition. To learn more about the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County and Imagination Library, visit

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