While there is no vaccination against low literacy when a child is born, there is substantial research on the need for this vital prescription to be issued to families: Read aloud for at least 15 minutes or more every day with your child from birth through elementary school. This month is National Read Aloud Month, so we have partnered with Phillips 66 and organizations across Houston to spread this important message to families.
Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important activity adults can engage in with children to develop critical pre-literacy skills, such as vocabulary and letter recognition, as well as to foster strong comprehension and fluency skills as children learn how to read. Reading books also exposes children to words and concepts extending beyond typical conversation or through digital media.
Reading aloud also stimulates brain activity. During the first three years of life, a child's brain makes trillions of connections, the fastest it will ever grow. In fact, by age five, a child's brain has reached 90 percent of its mature size. Thus, the early years of a child's life are a critical time for teaching and learning. Unfortunately, fewer than half of children age five and under are read aloud to each day, and many children simply lack the basic tools - books - to become readers and develop a love for reading.
Help us celebrate National Read Aloud Month by doing one or more of the following:
(1) become a reading mentor in a school, library or nonprofit near you at Connect4Literacy.org;
(2) spread the word about the importance of reading aloud 15 minutes each day by sharing this article with friends and family; and
(3) sponsor a child's home library with your tax-deductible donation through our My Home Library initiative.
Take it from Dr. Seuss in his book The Lorax: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
Thank you for caring and making a difference in March!
With warm regards,
Julie Baker Finck, Ph. D.