The best thing you can do for your child’s education is to get them hooked on reading early. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, magazines, or comic books, the more a child reads, the more likely he or she is to succeed.
Children who can’t read by the start of the fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school and will likely remain behind their peers academically in later school years. That’s unacceptable.
Fortunately, there’s plenty parents can do to help struggling readers get on track:
- Set aside 20 minutes every day for either individual quiet reading or read aloud time
- Ask your child’s teacher or principal about specialized reading programs
- Take your child to sign up for a library card
- Make regular visits to the library so they can pick out fun books and explore
- Encourage your child to read newspaper articles or restaurant menus aloud
- Make audio books a regular part of car trips
- Find age-appropriate word puzzles to help increase vocabulary
- Download literacy apps for comprehension, phonics, spelling, and more
In Massachusetts, Stand is leading a multi-year plan to improve third grade reading proficiency. This means more reading coaches and interventionists in schools, better literacy curriculum, identifying struggling readers, summer literacy classes, and other supportive programs and resources.
Summer is an especially excellent time to get kids interested in reading to avoid the dreaded “summer slide” – the tendency for students to lose knowledge and achievement gains made during the school year over the summer break.
In Indianapolis, we’ve launched the Every Child Reads Summer Reading Challenge. Families pledge to read 20 minutes a day to introduce kids to the joys of reading and help to create a sustainable reading routine at home.
In Chicago, the Every Child Reads at Home program provides participating students with free tablets, loaded with access to thousands of books. Families receive personalized text messages to support their reading goals and are part of a community focused on tips to build a long-term reading routine at home.
Use this summer wisely. Visit a library. Go to a comic book store. Help your child fall in love with reading.