Today marks National “Read Across America” Day, most often celebrated in schools as Dr. Seuss Day. This year though, I’d like to encourage parents and caregivers alike to make a conscious effort to claim March as the, “Reading Everyday” month!
We’ve learned from research that early literacy is essential for our children's cognitive development. We know from real-world experience that reading proficiently is truly a must-have foundational skill. The ability to read influences every aspect of our current lives AND our children’s future lives.
For instance, did you know that adults deemed illiterate are LESS likely to get involved in their communities and LESS likely to participate civically or politically? Think about it, if you can’t read you’re probably not racing to the polls to decide the next mayor or school board elect.
Illiterate adults often struggle with low self-esteem and frequently isolate themselves from others. No one wants to be isolated. We all have an innate desire for kinmanship. The world we live in REQUIRES us to be able to read at competent levels. We are inundated with text through multiple platforms: social media pages, emails, even text messages. We have to be able to understand the messages emitted AND we MUST make sure our children (when old enough to read) can comprehend information presented as well.
In Ohio last year, only 34% of Black students (state-wide) were reading at proficient levels on state assessments. Let that sink in.... 34%!
Many of our children are leaving the schooling system ill-preparing for the world ahead and we have a parental and CIVIC duty to do better. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”- Dr. Seuss, The Lorax.
For the month of March, I challenge you and your family to limit your television use/viewing to the weekends only.
That's right, let's all limit our television time to Saturdays and Sundays ONLY for the next 5 weeks. If you’re really struggling, Friday nights are ok too...but really strive for Saturdays and Sundays.
How much more could we pour into our children if we spent the limited 2-3 hours left over after daycare, school, and work each evening actually reading, playing, or talking with our children? Research suggest that children benefit better from real-life experience more-so than video anyway! How many new words could they learn if we were speaking and interacting with them instead of letting the television set do the work for us?
I think the outcome may just surprise you. Join me this month as we turn off the TV and TUNE-IN to our kids. I can’t wait to hear your stories!
Happy "Reading Everyday" month!