05 Sep READING IS FUNDAMENTAL: National Read a Book Day
There is a day for everything (even blueberry popsicles day on September 2). There are a few national days in September that fit the Active Parenting model:
National Read A Book Day is September 6
National Literacy Day – September 8
Read to Your Child Day falls on February 14
There are many more National Days devoted to books and reading throughout the year because READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!
And we think every day should be Read to Your Child Day. Are you a Leader looking for important parenting tools and resources to share with parents? Or a parent looking for effective parenting methods and ways to help your children thrive? Or maybe you are both. READING IS FUNDAMENTAL (you’ve heard that before, right?)—it is a gateway to learning about EVERYTHING. So as parents and Leaders who want children to thrive—reading is a great place to start!
Why Reading is Important
There are many reasons Active Parenting feels strongly about reading to your child. Reading aloud to your child is the best way to improve reading skills and it’s the best predictor of school success. Research shows that reading skills are also the best predictors of algebra skills, career success, and earning power. Reading to your children is also a great way to bond as you snuggle together and explore exciting worlds sparking curiosity and encouraging thoughtfulness.
The Numbers on Reading
1Based on an analysis of the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP) test scores, 25 million children in the US cannot read proficiently. 34% of children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn how to read. 67% of 4th graders read below grade level which is a contributing factor to 8,000 students dropping out of High School. These are not the statistics of thriving children. As a community we need to make reading important and support efforts to help children (& adults) learn this essential skill and lifelong source of enjoyment.
How do we do it? Read with our children
When parents read aloud, children can listen to the stories focusing on the plot, language patterns, and vocabulary. Pick books that are interesting to your child. Kids love to have choices so pick books together. Laugh and snuggle—this quality time spent together will foster a love of reading. Ask your child questions like what they think the character will do—it’s not only fun to imagine but it encourages critical thinking. This helps develop analytical thinking skills and reading comprehension, and it teaches how a good reader interacts with a book. Here are some methods from the Active Parenting 4th Edition Parent’s Guide:
- Reinforce memory by asking your child what happened in the last segment you read.
- Encourage observation by asking who, what, where, and when questions during or after a story.
- Help your child learn to think ahead by asking them to predict what might happen next.
- Develop language skills by asking the meaning of unusual words and discussing them or looking them up together.
- Ask your child why they think the author had the character do what they did.
Reading is Fundamental for EVERYONE!
Reading aloud to your children is still important even as they get older. Several sources suggest that a child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to their listening level until around eighth grade. Reading more advanced books aloud to older children will improve their vocabulary and spark their interest with more complex plots. Of course, we want older children to read on their own too, so strike a balance. And it goes without saying that reading is good for adults too—there’s a whole big world to learn about through books. You can start a family book club and trade snuggling with engaging conversations—who knows you may even get a hug from your teenager. Stranger things have happened.
Reading to Develop Communication Skills
Asking questions and listening will help to develop language skills. Mealtimes, riding in the car, and during wait times are great opportunities to ask questions about what a child has read (or is reading). You can talk about the book you’re reading together and other topics your kids find interesting. We can all exercise our Active Listening skills when talking with others about books—sharing stories.
Finding Books on a Budget
- Local Library – Find the library nearest you. Don’t have time to go to the library? Get the Library app: Libby. You can borrow books and read them on your phone, tablet, computer, or Kindle. It will require a library card.
- School Library or Classroom Lending Library. Encourage children to take advantage of this resource.
- Scholastic Books – many teachers have a Scholastic Book Club that offers affordably priced books at your child’s reading level.
- Your local Dollar Store or thrift stores
- Garage / Yard Sales
- Church or Community Groups Book Drive or School Supplies Drive
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.
A good goal is to read together at least 20 minutes a day. Start this daily habit as soon as your child’s eyes can focus on the pictures. As kids get older, they can read to you, or you can read more advanced books to them or listen to an audiobook together. It exposes children to higher reading levels and encourages them to want to become better readers. Reading is the key to learning so nurturing a love of reading is a great way to help your child succeed in school and thrive in our communication-based society.
Every Day is National Read to Your Child Day
So, have fun celebrating National Burnt Ends Day on September 1st, National Wiener Schnitzel Day on September 9th, National Make Your Bed Day on September 11th, and by all means have a shake on National Chocolate Milkshake Day. Please don’t forget to celebrate National Read to Your Child Day as many days as possible because READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!
- Resources for Leaders:
- Resources for Parents:
- Doc Pop’s 52 Weeks of Active Parenting by Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D.
- Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children without Breaking Their Spirits by Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D.
- FREE eBooks for Kids
- 15 Places You Can Read Free Books Online
- Reading is Fundamental (RIF.org)
- National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP)
- Active Parenting 4th edition program and Parent’s Guide
- Active Parenting: First Five Years program and Parent’s Guide
Active Parenting Publishers founder and president Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D. has been providing research-based education programs with an emphasis on nonviolent discipline, mutual respect, and open communication for 40 years. He is widely known for his expertise in the field of parent education and has appeared on over 100 TV programs, including CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
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