The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education states that children that are read by a parent or guardian develop stronger reading skills than those whose parents do not read to them. The advantages these children develop over the course of their lives are significant.
The children that are engaged by their parents in any literacy activity, are better prepared when they enter kindergarten, and are able to cope with the academic rigors that have become standard in the United States.
Many of the literacy activities are easily done by a parent, guardian, or older sibling. Reading or telling stories, teaching letters and words, and recognizing numbers are some of the most basic activities that these children can be engaged in to become proficient readers.
Some studies suggest that the literacy rate in the United States hasn’t changed in the last ten years, while other studies have shown that among the 20 “high Income” countries, the United States ranks 12th.
Literacy in the United States is a serious problem that is easily overlooked during these uncertain times. In this country, there are 44 million adults unable to read a simple book or story to their children, and 60% of households in the United States do not or cannot buy a single book in a year. With these grim statistics, literacy in this country have to begin at home regardless.
Children of families that lack the means necessary to foster a love for reading or books, should not be an excuse to let these children fall thru the crack of an educational system that is failing them. By helping these families find other means to help their children to read, we can do a lot of good for our society as a whole.
Libraries across the country, offer programs that help introduce children to story time sessions and by doing so, helping them get involved in books. By the time these five year olds go to kindergarten, an emphasis should be put in reading to them and with them.
The statistics of school youth unable to read the most basic books and still graduating from high school are appalling. We need to expect more from them, and as a society, we need to help them achieve the most basic of skills of all. Reading is obviously not for everyone.