In case you were unaware, this is the CBC’s 88th annual Children’s Book Week, which encourages not only kids to read but parents to read to their kids & to emphasize the importance of reading at all levels. Which, being married to a kindergarten teacher, is a hot-button issue in our house. There is always a section at the bottom of her weekly newsletter she sends home to her parents that says in big bold letters, “READ TO YOUR KIDS!” It’s an issue she & I feel very strongly about.
It’s not just about literacy either. It’s about development in many other ways too; vocabulary, comprehension, attention, imagination. Not to mention the bond that can be formed between parent & child just by performing such a simple task. Ten to fifteen minutes a day is not too much to ask (and is a mere fraction of the time we spend watching TV or surfing the internet) especially when you consider the overall benefit or ROI.
Leah took an informal poll of her students a few weeks ago, asking them who reads to them at home. The vast majority – that’s right I said majority – said that no one reads to them on any kind of regular basis. Some admitted that Grandma or someone else may read to them sometimes. But there were many that actually used the words, “Mommy never reads to me.” That absolutely floored me. Does it break your heart as much as it does mine?
When I was in school our librarian, Midge Harris, organized & spearheaded the RIF (reading is fundamental) program. It was a big deal with parties, contests, and a book drive. When Midge retired the whole program disintegrated. Our school doesn’t even have a librarian now. In fact, this summer they actually emptied the library to make room for a computer lab. That’s right – a public elementary school with NO LIBRARY! Can you imagine? What this says to me is that reading is no longer a priority – not just at home, but even in the public school! We have to find a way to change that perception & we need to do it quickly!
So please read to your kids. If you don’t already, this week is the perfect time to start!
* Emphasize its importance,
* Lead by example,
* Turn off the boob-tube,
* Go to the library or book store together,
* Volunteer to read a book to a class at your local school (teachers love that),
* And above all – READ!