Sunday, March 23, 2014
March has been designate as National reading month. This proclamation seems kind of odd since many assume reading comes was to most and why celebrate reading? Good questions. The answers are obvious, at least from the perspective behind the librarian's desk. It is reading that promotes life long learning and self-sufficiency. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to explain the benefits. A child can demonstrate it beautifully in action. Children who are read to have better speaking sills, learn to read sooner then their peers who are not read to, develop a better vocabulary and have a longer attention span. So much is gained by just fifteen minutes a day. Children who learn to read at an early age are more likely to succeed in school. This is not just an opinion, it's been documented by educational researchers and anecdotal evidence as well. A study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, "Double Jeopardy" (2011). The statics found here are startling. In this study it was found that children in Third grade who had poor reading sills were less likely to continue through to graduate from high school. Quite frankly, this is an unacceptable situation. Children in every neighborhood deserve better schools, better libraries and better homes. But how can they demand anything when they can not vote. They need someone to be their voice. This trend can be reversed with one small step at a time. It can begin with countering to read to a child in your neighborhood. For the educational professional, it could begin with taking every opportunity to promote reading in the classroom and in the home. Schools and public libraries can find creative ways to work together to co-sponsor programs that get children excited about reading. It can begin with summer reading programs (which children librarians are all ready in the planning stages for Summer 2014) and possibly stretch into other months of great programming ideas. The list of programming ideas are endless. When collaboration begins between two like minded professions it is amazing what can be done. More importantly it is a positive step to help children from any neighborhood and every home. There are very few people who would disagree with the notion that reading is not an important skill for children to learn. However there are too many who will dismiss the value of reading to a child or taking children to the public library on a regular basis. The main complaint is that there is not enough time to read or to go to the library. Let's put it in perspective that might make the picture clearer. Time is a precious commodity for children as well. Everyday they are not read to, encouraged to pick up a book or taken to the library is time lost and wasted. It's only in a blink of an eye and they will be responsible adults of the community. How sad will that be that these future adults won't have the reading skills needed to survive? Think that's over the top? Read a prescription bottle. Now think of someone who has to take that medicine and has no idea what it says on the label. READ to a child .... today.