(StatePoint) The start of a new school year is a great time to emphasize the importance of reading at home. Solid readers perform better in school and in the workplace, have a healthy self-image, and become lifelong learners.
Research shows a whopping 45 percent of children ages 3 to 5 are not read to daily, and this lack of literature can take a negative toll on school performance. Luckily, there are many things parents can do to make kids passionate readers.
“Reading stimulates children’s imagination and expands their understanding of the world,” says actress Kate Beckinsale, who is teaming with “The Nestlé Share the Joy of Reading Program” to raise awareness about the importance of children’s literacy and support the work of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States.
If you’re looking to make reading a bigger part of your children’s lives this school year, here are some great tips to get them motivated:
• Start young. Reading aloud to children at an early age is the most effective way to help them attain critical language and communication skills and instill great habits.
• Take advantage of free online tools and resources that help make reading an engaging, shared experience for parents and kids. For example, RIF’s “Leading to Reading” website contains activities for children ages birth to 5. Visit www.rif.org/kids/leadingtoreading for more information.
• Variety is the spice of life! Be sure your house contains plenty of books to choose from on a variety of topics.
• Launch a children’s book club with other parents. Take turns hosting your children’s friends for snacks and a lively discussion on the book of the month.
• Kids love getting mail! Subscribe to children’s magazines so they’ll have something fun and beneficial to look forward to each month.
• Make sure children have their very own library cards and become frequent patrons at your local library.
• Be it the morning paper or your favorite novel, set a great example by making reading a daily habit for yourself.
• Many literacy programs supporting underserved communities are currently experiencing federal funding cutbacks, but everyone deserves a chance to read. Invest in the lives of other children who might not have the same opportunities as your kids. For example, right now, every time you enter a promotion code found inside specially marked packages of Nestlé and Wonka candy at www.CelebrationCorner.com/RIF, Nestlé will donate money to RIF, to fund purchasing books for kids.
Almost a quarter of public school fourth graders score below even the most basic levels on reading exams, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress. Don’t let your children fall behind. Take steps this school year to help your children and others to hone this basic tool for success.