There are piles of studies that you can read about the importance of reading to children before they reach kindergarten. There are several key skills children need to absorb before they start school, including things as simple as knowing the alphabet, which many students simply do NOT have before the age of 5. I used to work in a school with a low income population in a city and would see for myself the simple testing that some kindergarteners got wrong, such as holding a book right ways up, or being able to point to letters (not to identify them, but just to know that those symbols were letters).
The most important skill you can give a child is the ability to read. Children cannot navigate the world successfully without that ability. Research over many years has shown that children who aren't reading on grade level by second grade will be dogged by poor reading skills for the rest of their school careers.
Reach Out and Read is striving to Do Good and change all of that. In a fabulous collaboration with pediatricians, children from 6 months to age 5 receive a book at each check up and doctors evaluate the child's developmental stages as the family reads together. The program is receiving awards and kudos at every turn.
Take the time to check out their video about the program:
You can certainly visit Reach Out and Read's site to donate. However, even if you can't there are many other simple things you can do. Donate those children's books your kids have outgrown to a daycare or preschool. Offer to read to a kindergarten. Or ask for your friends and family to donate to a charity like Reach Out and Read in lieu of birthday gifts. You'll be doing more than you think.