What is the link between “Goodnight Moon” and academic excellence?
Or how about “Green Eggs and Ham” and career success?
The question may seem like a riddle, but the answer is no joke.
Early childhood reading can have a lifelong impact on success in school, the workplace and beyond, experts say, because it is the building block of a vital skill:
A 2012 national study by The Annie E. Casey Foundation found children are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma if they are below proficient reading level in the third grade. Three years earlier, the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress reported 67 percent of fourth-graders scored below proficient levels on reading tests.
A child’s literacy development from birth through early elementary school can be a strong indicator of later life success, according to the 2012 study.
That’s why reading skills need to be developed long before children enter the classroom. That’s why literacy education needs to begin as soon as children exit the womb and enter the world.
The program’s mission is to promote reading for newborns, infants, and toddlers, as well as promote bonding through reading.
I encountered 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten while researching an article about early childhood literacy for the local newspaper. The program is offered locally through Streator Public Library, but it also is available nationally. Anyone can participate for free, with or without a local facility to sponsor.
The gist is this: Read 1,000 books to your child before kindergarten. From birth to the time school starts, just read a book from cover to cover. Repeats are allowed, so if your child wants to read “Are You My Mother?” 990 times and then 10 other books, you aren’t breaking any rules.
Reading one book a night is 365 in a year. In two years, that’s 730. Three years of daily reading would be 1,095, leaving you ahead of the game with two years to spare.
In June 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement promoting daily reading with children, beginning in infancy. The 1,000 Books program is a handy starting point and good incentive to keep parents on track.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten offers all of the resources a family needs on its website: program instructions (available in English and Spanish), reading log sheets, printouts for milestones (reaching 100 books, 200, 500, etc.), and a reading list suggesting books for youngsters.
It’s worth playing the role of Scheherazade to the children in our lives. She told 1,001 stories in 1,001 nights to save her life; surely, we can read 1,000 stories in 1,826 nights to improve our children’s academic (and lifelong) success.
- EDITOR’S NOTE: Portions of this blog post also were published in an article written for The Times newspaper (Ottawa/Streator, IL). To read the article, visit http://bit.ly/1OchPUj.