Key Initiative: Powering Reading

Powering Reading: A Shasta County Board of Education Initiative to Improve Literacy for All Shasta County Students

Our goal is for every Shasta County student to become a skilled reader, who reads with confidence and understanding. The initiative supports the Shasta County Office of Education’s work to have students reading at or above grade level by third grade, and to provide continuing support to students who don’t reach that benchmark. The initiative also aims to increase awareness in the community of the importance of reading and the understanding of how children learn to read.

We are committed to this work because fewer than half of third-grade students in Shasta County are reading at or above grade level.

Reading is foundational. Struggling with reading plays into low self-esteem, poor academics, and a disconnection to school. It can contribute to absenteeism and limit options for what comes after high school. Students who are able to decode words with ease by the end of the primary grades will be in the best position to grasp information in all subjects and to make the most of their education as they move from one grade to the next. 

3 ladies handing out books at the Literacy book distribution


Line art of an open book


Learn more: Community resources and activities

"Science of Reading: Defining Guide”: This free e-book covers what the science of reading is and what it is not, as well as its potential to transform reading instruction.

Little Free Libraries: More than 100 of these libraries offer free books to Shasta County families. Discover one close to you or find out how to host your own!

Reading Buddies: The Reading League’s free YouTube television series helps teach children letters, sounds and word decoding based on the Science of Reading and offers activities.

Help Me Grow ShastaWondering how your young child is doing? Unsure of when to reach out for help? Contact Help Me Grow Shasta County for free information and helpful referrals. Specialists answer questions about ages and stages, speech, language, behavior and social skills. 

“Sold a Story”: In this podcast, journalist Emily Hanford investigates how teaching children to read went wrong and explores the brain science behind learning to decode written language. 

Shasta Public Libraries literacy program: Free tutors help adults and families with reading and writing, English as a second language, tutoring, and more. Call 530-245-7237 or email

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten: Families with newborns to pre-kindergartners can join this free program, which offers a chance to earn a free book.

First 5 Shasta has resources for families of young children, including these literacy suggestions: PBS Kids online games reinforce reading and vocabulary with students in primary grades, and Starfall Fun Reading Resources are geared to pre-kindergartners through second-graders. The resources are educational entertainment options to help prepare students for school and support them once they are there.


Stephanie Byers handing books to families


Little girl excited to receive books.


Shasta high school football team reading to Manzanita Elementary


Family excited about their Pete the Cat books they picked out