Tueday, April 26, 2011
Next week is National Children’s Book Week. A time to celebrate those cherished and tattered books that many of us can recite by heart.
Reading has always been a part of my life. As a kid, I eagerly awaited for my mom or grandmother to read me a book at bedtime. One of my favorites was “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” about a clever little mouse who asks a boy for a cookie and then keeps asking him for more things.
I remember stories of gallant knights and Western cowboys, buried treasure and Arabian nights. I loved closing my eyes and letting my imagination drift. Later, I seldom ventured without a book. On long car rides in the back seat, or during summer vacations by the pool – I always had a book at hand, and a story to get back to.
Ultimately, fiction is the stuff of life. We learn about each other and the ways we live through reading.
Given my own passion for reading, I am distressed to think that so many children cannot read for themselves. Reading is a fundamental skill that too many children go without. And, when you don’t know how to read or write, words turn into a jumble of symbols.
But, that’s where Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program comes in. It’s a much-needed program to help young kids in grades one to four develop their language and reading skills both inside and outside the classroom. It works by engaging everyone in the community - from teachers, parents and even older children – to help kids learn through simple actions like reading aloud with a child.
Kids in 10 countries in Africa and Asia are currently enrolled in the program, and, we’re seeing impressive preliminary results. Kids are reading more words per minute, they have a better understanding of what they’re reading and they are excited to showcase their reading skills with others.
There’s no doubt that my family’s persistent reading aloud, and their steady encouragement to read influenced me.
I hope other kids get to share that joy, too, so that when they open a book, letters will become words. And words will become stories. And characters will spring to life, opening up a whole new world to them.
Here are some easy ways you can celebrate reading and National Children’s Book Week:
- Read to a child today.
- Share your favorite children’s book in the comments section below.
- Provide picture books for preschoolers in Afghanistan with an $80 donation.