A good combination

Published 9:59 am Monday, March 13, 2017

Food, shelter, safety and clothing are the basics, of course, but once those things are accounted for, there is almost nothing more important a parent can do for his child than to instill a love of reading early in life.

The stakes are higher than you might think. According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, one out of six children who do not read at their age level by the end of third grade will not graduate from high school.

And here’s another shocking couple of statistics from the U.S. Department of Education: “Among those who reach adulthood with the lowest level of literacy proficiency, 43 percent live in poverty. Among those who have strong literacy skills, only 4 percent live in poverty.”

Reading matters, and it starts at home.

Parents who read to their young children are far more likely to have those children enter school ready to read and interested in doing so. And those children are far more likely to read at or above their age level throughout their school years.

Parents who model reading for their kids and who encourage the presence of books in the home do those children a great service.

Having books in the home, according to the foundation, has been proven to improve children’s reading performance, cause them to read more and for longer, and encourage better attitudes toward reading and learning.

Clearly, just about anything one can do to get children to read is worth doing.

We must also point out that schools in Western Tidewater regularly host family reading nights, as well as in-class projects such as Riverdale Elementary School and Southampton Academy participating in the annual Read Across America Day. One likes to think that Dr. Seuss would be most pleased his books are chosen for the occasion.