By Damion Smalls
Every March 2, the importance of reading to young people around the country is spotlighted with events targeted to instill good habits and intelligence at an early age with the help of the community. ‘Read Across America Day’ is being promoted by Reach Out and Read, an ever-growing organization that uses research to back their claims of the positive effects of engaging with kids through reading.
The date coincides with the birthday of the seminal children’s author Dr. Seuss and is also known as ‘Dr. Seuss Day’. Parents, teachers, business owners, or anyone that maintains constant contact with kids 5 years old or younger are encouraged to take time out on this day to read to them, Callee Boulware, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read Carolinas, states. She reiterated how special the day was for the company.
“72% of children in the United States are not proficient in reading by the end of 3rd grade and that’s not acceptable,” she said. She asserted that by getting kids to gain an appreciation for reading in their early stages, it would allow them to be well-prepared for school, specifically by kindergarten. Since 90% of brain development occurs in a person’s first five years of life, Boulware maintained that capitalizing on young brains is vital to the literary abilities of individuals.
Boulware implored that it cannot be overlooked on how communities need a culture of literate children. Its role in a child’s life should include adults working together to make things easier for kids to learn more, she felt. It is truly a team effort that the organization strives to establish with all levels of a community taking part to raising literate children.
Making reading a fun exercise to participate in is a major goal of Reach Out and Read. They strive to entice kids with the joys of learning. Following their model, Boulware explained that parents and guardians of young ones should make it a reoccurring activity to read and captivate children by introducing new words to their vocabulary. A more vast vocabulary helps people into expressing themselves easier. Teachers have the ability to mold students by structuring their words into sentences that make sense. Business owners can use their resources to initiate awareness of the education of our youth with ads, local events, fundraisers, and outspoken support. Everyone should be involved in the cause, Boulware believes.
Reach Out and Read specializes in providing opportunities for low-income children to acquire literary skills to keep up with or surpass their peers. With over 15 years of research to its credit, the nonprofit’s opinions should be taken at face value. They work with pediatricians and other medical professionals that are involved with the wellness of children to give them the tools to best advise the people who take care of kids. Boulware, an University of South Carolina graduate, noted how the Children’s Hospital in Columbia gave her a start which led to her current position. She noticed the impact of Reach Out while in school and followed her inclination towards assisting children. It is a livelihood that she still enjoys.
If you know any tykes, make sure to do your part and help steer them forward to an adept mind by reading to them. Not just on March 2, but on a regular basis. We can all benefit from a more educated youth. Knowledge gives the keys to the doors to unlock potential.