March is National Reading Month, where parents, leaders, educators, and literacy activists rally together to inspire readers young and old.
March 2nd is Read Across America Day. Initially launched in 1988, it is now the biggest reading celebration!
Unfortunately, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, we live in a country with states where over 80% of Black students cannot adequately read or compute math at their grade level.
Some states score closer to 90% deficiency. Virginia's 2019 National Report Card for reading and mathematics goes into detail, breaking down the stats per demographic group for eighth-grade students. Given the circumstance, this month is an important time to raise awareness for Black students and readers!
Below you'll find things to keep in mind when reading with children and a couple of activities to try this month.
Let's get into it:
It's never too early to start reading to your child. Even from the womb, you can spend time reading stories aloud. Not only does it help a mother and baby bond, but it promotes the baby's brain activity! These are positive markers of early literacy, excellent listening skills, and language development. As a child grows, reading aloud helps boosts imagination and fosters a deeper understanding of the world through the power of storytelling.
If you read with your child once every seven months, the benefits won't stick compared to a family that reads with their children daily or a few times a week. The best way to build a routine is to designate a day of the week to read, like Sunday afternoons, and make an occasion out of it. The best way to instill the habit of reading is to model if for your kids.
Make it fun
Children love to have fun! Adults do too, but sometimes we forget that when bogged down by the throes of life. However, it's easy to unknowingly project adult expectations onto children, especially once they reach middle school. Yet, if you build a habit of making reading fun, you can keep the joy alive!
3 Ways to make reading fun for kids:
1. Stay positive
Always cheer your child on and shower words of encouragement as they dive into reading. If a child messes up pronouncing a word, don't berate them or make fun of a slight stutter. While you may forget the comment late, the criticism can stay with children, turning them away from reading because of the negative association.
2. Make it interactive
It's okay to play mini-games while reading, sing the words or even act out the scenes of a book. All of these make for a fantastic experience. Another way to engage a child is with questions. As you read together, ask questions to check the child's understanding. See how your kids would react if placed in the character's situation.
3. Have snacks and props on hand
As a child starts reading, a 12-page picture book may take twenty minutes or longer to read through. Having water and small snacks on hand will keep you from getting hangry and frustrated, while props help you act out scenes to bring the book alive!
Save those online packages. That cardboard shipping box can be a car or a giant spaceship. A smaller box can be turned upside down and worn like a helmet and empty water bottles swords for your next gladiator battle. The opportunities are endless.
Bonus Ideas for older children and teens:
- Tie the significance of the book back to their everyday lives
- Take a trip to someplace new and read together
- Choose books involving their interests
- Buy books where the protagonist looks like them and is going through similar struggles
- Be open to different forms of content like graphic novels, lite novels, or fan fiction
- Watch movies together after reading the books that inspired the production and discuss the similarities and differences
Pin this for later