Today a Reader Tomorrow a Leader
March 2 is Read Across America Day! We here at Shepherd Insurance believe there are many reasons to encourage children to read. First of all, it’s fun! It’s also an activity that promotes learning and independent thought. But, perhaps most importantly, becoming a reader can mean the difference between success and difficulty later in life.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school than those who don’t. In addition, they are more likely to be economically successful as adults. Early adaptation to reading has also been seen to help people with their total well-being and self-care.
The National Education Association (NEA) is well aware of literacy’s impact on a young person’s life. That is why the organization started Read Across America in 1998. Held on the school day closest to the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss (March 2), the event goes beyond promoting reading for just one day. It also provides tools for educators and parents to create lifelong readers.
We thought it was a great time to share some tips to promote reading at home. After all, parental involvement is one of the most crucial factors for young readers’ success. According to the U.S. Department of Education, reading scores are 46 points below the national average when parents are less involved.
So how can you encourage your child to read? Here are some tips from the NEA and the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Between the Lions” show:
- Be a reader yourself. Set a good example by letting your kids see you reading every day.
- Make reading and literacy fun. Have the family read together and encourage a love of words by playing rhyming and word games and singing silly songs. You can even write poems and stories as a family.
- Take part in Read Across America on March 2 every year. Check-in with your local school, education association, library, or bookstore to find out their plans. Or plan your event for the families in your neighborhood.
- Make it convenient. Carry a few children’s books or magazines wherever you go, whether on a car ride, to the doctor’s office, etc.
- Go to the library. And make sure you let your children choose some of their books.
- Find used materials. Inexpensive books and magazines are often available at yard sales and secondhand stores. Dedicate a small corner of your home to creating your library.
- Give (or get) the gift of reading. Try to incorporate reading into gifts for birthdays and other events. If relatives or friends ask for gift ideas, suggest magazine subscriptions and books.
- Show why reading is essential in everyday life. Read other things with your child, from street signs to restaurant menus, so they see what reading means in the “real world.”
Too often, our hectic schedules mean we take less time to do the things we enjoy. So, remember, reading with children isn’t just fun for them — it should be fun for you, too! After all, as Dr. Seuss himself wrote, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”