Reading is About More than Books

Reading is about so much more than books! I love reading. It is one of my passions. I have fond memories of reading when I was a child and as an adult. I remember books that were shared with friends, books that helped me learn and grow, books that comforted me and books that took me to other worlds and places I may never be able to visit.

It is about so much more than just reading words on a page.

I remember going to the bookstore and spending hours looking at books. (I usually got to bring some home.) I remember ignoring my family at holiday times, not because I was intentionally trying to be rude, but because that is just how absorbed I was in my book. I recorded myself reading my favorite book. Yes, I was that nerdy, even as a young child. When my mother had to separate my sister and me because of our fighting, I was often sent to my parents’ room where all the encyclopedias were! After I got over my sulking and pouting, I would read.

Now, as an adult reading helps me keep my sanity when I think I am all alone.

Reading provides bonding time with my children and husband. Reading allows impromptu lessons with my children. I want to share my love for reading with my children. Because of my love for reading, I have become a consultant for Usborne Books (don’t worry, that is not what this post is about, although they do have amazing books :)). I only mention it because Usborne has reignited the fire I let die and reinforced the need to instill that same love and passion for reading for my children. It has spurred my research into just how important reading and literacy is for our children and their future!

The references for the statistical quotes are listed below:

  1. Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children. (This makes my heart hurt!)

  2. 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level.

  3. 44% of American adults do not read a book in a year.

  4. 6 out of 10 households do not buy a single book in a year.

  5. 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage.

  6. To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests. (Crazy, right?!)

  7. Between 46% and 51% of American adults have an income well below the poverty level because of their inability to read.

  8. Only 53% of children ages three to five are read to on a daily basis by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read to everyday than children in families with incomes at or above poverty.

  9. The more types of reading materials there are in the home, the higher students are in reading proficiency, according to the Educational Testing Service.

  10. 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. (This is unacceptable!)

Those are just a few of the statistics I found. There are so many more. I do not want to leave you feeling hopeless. What can we do? Check out this fun video for some tips and one of my personal favorites videos.

Some of the things that work best for my family and me are the following:

  1. We read at the breakfast or lunch table on most days. It often extends past when they are finished with their meals. 

  2. Of course, we read before nap times and bedtimes. I often let my daughter “read” once she’s in bed. In the mornings, her books will be all over the floor. I can live with this mess if it means she’s looking and “reading” books. 

  3. I try not to stress whether my daughter is learning her letters. I want our reading time to be enjoyable. If it falls into learning naturally, then I follow her lead, but under a no pressure situation. She will have plenty of years in school with more pressures. I want her to always have something to look forward to in her days! 

  4. I have the captions set on my television, so even when we are watching cartoons, my children are being exposed to words.

  5. I try to point out words on signs and pretty much everywhere we go. 

  6. I have books everywhere. The table, bookcase, in all rooms. My favorite place is the car! Nothing warms my heart more than seeing both of my kids reading books in the car. 

  7. I read even when it appears my 18 month old is not listening. Even if they don’t sit in your lap, they are still listening and absorbing. 

Both of my kids love reading. My daughter will let you read every book in the house if you let her. We take books everywhere with us: Outside, in the car, to church, doctors’ offices. I love having books on hand at all times. I especially love non-fiction books for when we are outside. Nothing makes learning more fun than having a book on hand about the specific thing that is happening, whether it is staring at ants (which fascinates children), going to the zoo, raining or snowing.       

I hope this has inspired you to read to your children. NO matter how old. Read aloud, read silently, just read! If you want more information check out one of my favorite books on the subject (you knew I was going to recommend a book, right?). Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook. Not only does this have some great information, but it also lists some great books for reading for all ages!

References:
http://literacyprojectfoundation.org/community/statistics/
http://www.nea.org/grants/facts-about-childrens-literacy.html
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-literacy-america

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