Benicia Reads: The Benicia Unified School District and The City of Benicia are partnering in a new Citywide Reading Campaign. This partnership will help support all students with their reading and literacy development. As a result of our ongoing analysis of our student assessment data and research regarding the importance of reading proficiency, BUSD is placing an even greater focus on reading and literacy development and stating it boldly in what we are calling a Wildly Important Goal: All students will read on grade level by the end of their third grade year and beyond. 

In hearing this, one might say, hasn’t this always been the goal?  The answer is definitely yes, but we are striving to pursue this wildly important goal with even greater urgency and commitment of resources.

A Call to Action:  We know language development is tantamount to one’s success in life, including school and the world of work. The research is compelling regarding language development, particularly in the first five years of life, and the importance of reading and engaging in rich conversations with your child daily. In a particularly impactful study cited in the book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. Christensen, C. 2011., regarding language exposure and development, the author cites: “When a parent engages in extra talk – speaking 48 million words (versus 13 million words) to an infant in its first 36 months of life – many, many more of the synaptic pathways in the child’s brain are exercised and refined….this means that children who have been lavished with extra talk have an almost incalculable cognitive advantage compared to those who have not been.”   Robust language development in these early years establishes the foundation from which students learn to read with fluency, comprehension, confidence and, hopefully, joy.   

Forging a Partnership:  On September 4, 2019, approximately twenty-five members of the community came together for an initial launch of a Citywide Reading Campaign. Representatives from City Council, Chamber of Commerce, private preschools, Parks and Recreation, Benicia Police Department, local businesses, Kiwanis, Rotary, BUSD teachers and First Five Solano were present and engaged in informed, enthusiastic dialogue about what we can do together to support our goal of all students reading on grade level by their third-grade year.

One element of the campaign is to ensure that no matter where someone turns in Benicia, they get the message that Benicia Reads. The team worked on brainstorming all the literacy events currently happening around Benicia and then dreaming big about what other events and opportunities we could create together. Watch for more information about the Citywide Reading Campaign throughout the year. For more information please contact Leslie Beatson, BUSD Assistant Superintendent, Education Services at

“When action is pure and selfless, everything settles into its own perfect place.” Lao Tzu