One Book 4 Colorado 2016: Bringing books into the homes and hearts of 4-year-olds

This spring, all Colorado 4-year-olds can get a free book!

For the fifth year, One Book 4 Colorado is giving away 75,000 copies of the same book in English or Spanish to every 4-year-old in the state to get more books into the homes of young children and to encourage Colorado families to read together. The book will be available from April 11-25 in all public and military libraries and Denver Preschool Program classrooms.

One Book 4 Colorado is a collaboration of Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia’s Office, the Colorado State Library, Serve Colorado, the Denver Preschool Program, the non-profit and foundation community, public and military libraries, and the private sector. Over the last 4 years, more than 250,000 Colorado 4-year-olds across the state have received a free book through this program.

The privately-funded program stems from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy skills and helps parents serve as their children’s first and most important teachers. Research shows that 4-year-olds that have access to books and adults that read to them often will be much more likely to have the skills they need to be ready to read when they start kindergarten.

For low-income families, access to quality books and early literacy efforts are even more important, since research shows that children in low-income families tend to have fewer books in their homes and are exposed to 30 million fewer words before the age of 4 than their higher-income peers. One Book 4 Colorado aims to close this vocabulary gap by getting a book into the home of every 4-year-old in the state and fostering a culture of reading.

A parent and child read the 2013 One Book 4 Colorado title.

Based on parent feedback, the program is successful in encouraging reading at home, instilling a love of reading, and opening conversations around books. In a 2014 survey of participating parents, 64% of respondents said that they spent more time reading with their children, and that their children were more interested in reading and books. 62% said that their children talked about books and reading more after getting their free book.

Parents told us the program had a real and immediate impact on their child’s interest in reading:

“My 4 year old loves the book.  What made me most pleased, though, was that this book was sitting in our van the day we received it and his older brother saw it, picked it up, and read it to him.  This is HUGE for kids to have a positive experience with reading and I love that it doesn’t just have to come from us parents.”

“[My daughter] is very interested in reading more, we are visiting the library more often, and most important she is very focused :)”

“[My son] has had a hard time reading and after I read him this book once, he wanted to read it to me. He has had so much fun with this book, he asked the Easter Bunny to bring him a new book for Easter.”

“[My daughter] is getting motivation from knowing other kids are all reading the same book. A kids book club is pretty motivating for her.”

“We really appreciate this program.  Thank you for the gift of reading!  I am more excited about sitting down and reading since receiving this book – it seemed to revive my parental interest in reading to my kiddos  :)”

The 2014 survey results are compiled the infographic below, which was created by the Library Research Service. Click to see the full-sized infographic.

LRS OB4C 2014 Survey

Which book will be given away this April?

Coloradans have been casting their votes for this year’s winning title, which will be revealed on April 11 on the One Book 4 Colorado website! (Watch a video of Colorado celebrities announcing the three finalist titles). We will also announce the winner on social media—on Twitter, follow @OneBook4Co and use the hashtag #OB4CO, or visit our Facebook page,

Please join us for two special events during the giveaway period!

Lt. Gov. Garcia and Denver Mayor Hancock read the 2013 One Book 4 Colorado title.
Lt. Gov. Garcia and Denver Mayor Hancock read the 2013 One Book 4 Colorado title.
  • The program launch and book reveal, featuring Governor Hickenlooper, Lt. Governor Garcia, and Denver Mayor Hancock, will be April 11 from 10:00-11:00 am at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez Branch of the Denver Public Library.
  • On April 19 from 9:00-10:00 am, join the author online for a Google Hangout—just click here to join the live event! The event is free and everyone is welcome. Can’t make it? It will be archived on the One Book 4 Colorado website so you can watch it anytime.
Amy Hitchner
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