Mayor Jenny Durkan’s decision to defund Book Up Summer for thousands of kindergarten through second grade kids, primarily poor kids of color, is both heartbreaking and misguided.

Third grade reading scores determine so much about the long-term success of our young students. When children can read at a third-grade reading level by third grade, they can pivot from learning to read to reading to learn. They are more likely to not get bored and stay in school. They are more likely to attend school after high school. Investing in childhood literacy is one of the most important things we can do to liberate our children, including Black girls and boys. Unfortunately, Mayor Durkan’s decision to defund Book Up Summer will leave behind thousands of young kids who need books in their homes, books that interest them. During the pandemic, we should be investing in more in-home literacy services, not fewer.

Be a hero, City Council, and maintain this critical program. Liberate our young readers.

Darby DuComb, Seattle