There has been a growth of programs to increase reading. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a program to increase reading at home. Libraries have always emphasized reading. Radio programs are plugging reading programs. A recent study showed that when adults have books at home the more literate the household becomes. It has been suggested that Pediatricians ask mothers during office visits “How many books do you have at home?” as part of an effort to increase reading. Certainly, reading is important. But why all the effort to increase reading?
Some troubling statistics answer the question. Today many college graduates in America cannot read and write well. Many high school graduates fail reading and writing. Americans, in general, are reading less. Book sales in the U.S. have decreased. Books are losing to computers and T.V. and as a result 30 percent of our high schoolers are dropping out nationwide. It is a shame that it has to be emphasized anew. Many years ago it was assumed that Americans had high literacy and high education levels. But today we are dropping. This is a cause for every parent to take up. What can parents do?
Reading must be a factor in your parenting today. Children need to see books. They need to hear words. They need to see parents reading. It doesn’t have to be a chore. Parents do not need to tediously teach their kids to read. That is a role for teachers and schools. And not all children learn to read at the same rate. Don’t panic if you have a late reader. But kids need to see the importance of books and reading everyday in their home.
Books on tape are a great alternative. It allows children to use more imagination than videos. They can play or draw while listening. During a long drive, books on tape make the ride shorter. If the book isn’t over they may not want the ride to end.
Keep reading and listening. Take trips to the library. Use libraries as a resource for books for your child. Always read a little above your child’s level so they yearn to read bigger more interesting books. If you are worried about your child’s reading, talk to your school. There is always extra help available. But don’t give up at home – keep reading.
Lessons from books are in no short supply. From Greek myths, to comedies, to English literature, our kids learn more than words. Life’s lessons are taught through the experience of centuries. Exposure to books is valuable to kids and to families – for the lessons and the togetherness they provide. But in the long run, reading provides an added value to your child’s education that cannot be provided in any other way then in their homes.