‘The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go’

Published 12:46 pm Saturday, March 14, 2015

In a quote, Dr. Seuss once equated reading with knowledge, and the more you know, the further you can go in life. These past two weeks, all of the local elementary schools and more celebrated the famous children author’s birthday with Read Across America Day, which was on March 2.

It’s a fun day, when children and teachers dress up as characters, such as the Cat in the Hat or perhaps one of the Things, and together they read. And it’s not the only thing schools do to encourage reading. They offer treats at the end of periods for scoring high on the Advanced Reader tests, as a class or individually. They have book giveaways to make sure that students have books at home. There are also many other activities that reading teachers use in their classrooms to encourage the important subject.

Community organizations, such as libraries and early development centers, have programs as well.

We say this to add: much of what is gained at school goes by the wayside if a child doesn’t read at home. Later on, the gap between better grades isn’t always anything naturally inherent, it’s often how well a child reads.

Reading isn’t just important for those early-level English classes. If a child can’t read well, then it is much more time consuming to learn history, science or math, since a lot of the material is picked up from books or e-books.

Reading and also writing are important to picking up language comprehension skills.

So, how do parents encourage children to read? First, of course, is to limit the time your family spends watching television. Also, read yourself. If your child sees you do nothing but watch TV, then that’s probably what the child is going to see as more fun and important. But if your children see you read, then they are more likely to do it themselves.

Also, parents, read with your children. It again shows them that you value reading. But it also gives you many valuable parenting ‘teachable’ moments. Children will probably have questions based on how characters behave. They might have this with television, too, but trying to communicate with loud noises and distractions in the background is a lot tougher than pausing at the end of a paragraph to chat.

If you can’t afford to constantly hit up the Barnes and Noble, of course, your local library has a lot of books. Checking them out is free, which is a lot cheaper than cable. Libraries also offer options for learning activities outside of the classroom.

When your child is born, he or she has a lot of choices for what they can be when they grow up. If they fall behind in reading, though, those options start to become limited or made much tougher.

Schools can do a good job assisting with your children during the school day. But when they get home, it’s important to make sure your children are not being raised by what’s in front of them on the television or computer screen.