January 23 is National Reading Day, one of numerous awareness days designated to highlight the importance of education – and since education is an integral part of the services Buckner Family Hope Centers provide to the community, staff around Texas joined top media outlets to promote National Reading Day.
In Houston, Shonice Reed, the director of Buckner Family Hope Center of Houston at Aldine, appeared on KHOU CBS’s “Great Day Houston.” Likewise, Susan Williams, the director of the Family Hope Center in Longview, appeared on KETK NBC’s “East Texas Live,” while Diego Silva, the director of the Family Hope Center at Peñitas in the Rio Grande Valley, and Jennifer Quintero, a Family Coach in Peñitas, appeared on news shows for KNVO Univision and KFXV Fox.
All the news appearances carried the same message: “It is important for parents to encourage their children to read, and here are key tips how…”
Parents should consider reading to their children at an early age, as it is an important part of early child development. Children who are read to at home are more likely to recognize all the letters in the alphabet, count to 20 and write their own names.
The importance of reading during the early years of a child’s education also has a direct impact on their success later in school. By the end of third grade, children who are proficient readers are four times less likely to drop out of high school. For children in poverty, this rate increases to 13 times less likely to drop out. In addition, a child who reads at their grade level is 13% more likely to go to college than those reading below grade level.
So, how can parents encourage their children to read? Here are seven easy tips:
- Have a variety of reading materials around the house. Having books at home is twice as important of a factor in a child’s education as their father’s level of education, but 61% of low-income families have no books in their homes for their children.
- Read to your kids as often as possible. Children who are read to are more likely to read as they get older.
- Words matter. Talk to your children from a young age. The amount of words they hear each week during ages 0-3 directly impacts reading comprehension and academic success at ages 9-10.
- Let your kids see you read. Young kids mimic their parents, so if you’re not reading, they likely won’t read.
- Create a reading space. Even if your house or apartment is small, creating a reading-specific area or nook can increase a child’s interest in reading.
- Give books as gifts. Books are usually less expensive than toys, easier to clean up and capture your child’s attention much longer than a doll or action figure.
- Always read the book before watching the movie. This can motivate reluctant readers by providing a future reward.
Advice on how to develop a love of reading in children is one example of the topics addressed during adult education and parenting classes at Buckner Family Hope Centers. Additional programs and services include family coaching, financial empowerment, child and youth development, spiritual development and community events with the goal being to strengthen families in each community served by the Center.