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How To Live An Amazing Life Now: Day 27 - Help Raise A Reader

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only thirty-five percentage of our nation's fourth graders in public schools read proficiently. Once students start to fall behind in reading, they tend to fall faster and further behind their peers each year. Data show that children who can't read proficiently by the fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Help raise a reader. It can be your child, grand child, nephew or neice, neighbor's or your friend's kid.

It is even sadder to note that 82 percent of students that are eligible for free or reduced lunches can't read proficiently. Nationally more than 8.7 million low-income students in kindergarten through fifth grade are not proficient in reading — the equivalent of the entire populations of Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta. If students do not receive effective interventions early by second grade, the less likely they are to ever become grade-level readers. With proper evidence-based interventions in the early grades, children can become average or better readers.


According to the US Department of Education, 60 percent of America’s prison inmates are illiterate and 85 percent of all juvenile offenders have reading problems.

Irrespective of the stage of life you are in, the development of our children and youth is paramount to our society now and for generations to come so that they have a brighter future. Be the star to guide them on their journey to adulthood with the love for reading.

"Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world". Love them, read to them and teach them a new word a day. This will not only raise a reader but the experience will enrich your life beyond measure.

As a young girl, my cousins and I used to visit my aunt and uncle over the weekend to attend Sunday School.  My aunt surely did not realize that her decision to introduce me to Sunday School would impact my life leading me to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. I loved the visits because after Sunday School I would look forward to the lunch that my aunt has prepared and waiting for us. My aunt and uncle were considered very well-to-do affording to own a single family house and I wanted the same for my Mother, Father, an Uncle who was living with us, and my brothers and sisters.

What I noticed was that my cousins would read piles and piles of books from the library and every Sunday when I was visiting with my other cousins, my uncle would bring out the piles of books and let them know that he would be going to the library the next day and books have to be read and returned or renewed and new ones brought home. I had already know how to read and have been an A student but I had been reading primarily for school to pass examinations. At that young age, it dawned on me that the key to a better life for myself and my family is the ability to read extensively and to open up my world through books.

I am grateful that my aunt's love and generosity have raised a reader in me.

Ways to raise a reader


Do you know that in order to grow your child/niece or nephew/grandchild into an avid reader, you need to start as early as newborns?  Newborns require to hear your soothing voice reading. As they grow, they will recognize the voice and associate it with reading. Researchers have found that an infant's language development and literacy is directly impacted by the number of words an infant is exposed to.  The words have to be directly in person spoken to a child, not from a television or audiobook.

  • Read out loud, every day. Any book.
  • Use your senses. Have the babies who are read to involve all the senses of touch, smell, sight, sound and even taste.
  • Mind your audience. Make eye contact as the babies are absorbing the experience. The routine of reading that you have cultivated will bring rewards that last a lifetime.
  • Get your baby talking. When the babies make sounds, respond as it is a form of communication.


Do you know that when you read to a toddler, it develops the toddler's intellectual, social and emotional well-being. Your toddler recognizes your voice and connects the readings with books with that beloved sound of your voice to build a positive association with books.

  • Read throughout the day. Nightly bedtime reading is a familiar routine for parents of toddlers . Read during the day also to get them to slow down and focus.
  • Introduce your own taste. The best authors and illustrators of children’s books aim to please their grown-up audience, too. So choose what you like and introduce to your toddler.
  • Respect your child’s preferences. Encourage children to express what they like about their books, and find more books like those.
  • The parent-child pas de deux. The more you can make reading mutually satisfying, the more it will be associated with pleasure and reward.
  • It’s O.K. to interrupt. Interruptions show that your child is engaged. If the children don’t seem to be engaged by the words, ask what they see in the pictures. Point at things and invite them to explain or narrate the action.
  • Expand your toddler’s world. Introduce to toddlers a large variety of topics and characters in addition to topics that they are familiar with.
  • Choose diverse books. Read books with children from multi-cultural background to prepare your toddler for life in a diverse world.

Emerging Readers

Imagine the joy that you feel when that magical breakthrough moment occurs when your child shows an interest in letters, and begins to make out words on a page.

  • Mix it up. Reading should not be exhausting or strained. Encourage your child to pick out words or try pointing to words your child recognizes. Mix it with new words so that your child enjoys the learning and reading.
  • Don’t abruptly withdraw your reading services. Reading to your child develops a bond and don't stop reading together when your child begins to read independently. Read to your child more difficult books that can't be read independantly.
  • Every child learns to read at a personal pace.
  • Don’t make reading work.
  • Reading at home should be beautiful, fun, curiosity-quenching and inspiring. The goal of raising a reader is to foster a love of reading.
  • Check in with the teacher.
  • Late readers often grow up to be better, more enthusiastic readers.

Early Readers

Keep reading with your child even when your child begins to read independently. Besides reading with your child, provide a supply of appealing books, encouragement and conversation on what your child is reading or has read.

  • Ask, “what are you reading?” Make this question a big part of your life. When you’re with your child and a friend, ask what the friend reads, and start a conversation. Your child may want to read what friends are enthusiastic about.
  • Make reading associated with maturity.

Reluctant Readers, or Visual Readers?

Some early readers find reading blocks of text daunting. Introduce them to visual books which can be more appealing and easier to comprehend.

  • Format doesn’t matter.
  • Make room for comics and manga. Many children become avid readers through their love of comics.
  • A book about a computer game is still a book. Many reluctant readers are fans of popular computer and video games. Steer your child towards full-text books by starting with graphic novels and comics relating to games that they enjoy.
  • Don’t forget nonfiction. Some reluctant readers are fact-gatherers, who may be more inspired by reading nonfiction.
  • Never treat books as a chore.

Now that we know the types of readers and how to help them, I want to introduce you to ways to volunteer to expand your horizon in contributing to this world to raise a reader.

Summer Brain Gain

Summer Brain Gain is a summer learning loss prevention program developed specifically for Boys & Girls Clubs to integrate into their traditional summer schedule. Summer Brain Gain helps prevent youth from falling behind and losing academic skills while school is out.

Each summer in America, an estimated 43 million children in the U.S. miss out on expanded learning opportunities that could prevent them from falling behind. During summer, most youth lose about two months' worth of math skills. Low-income youth also lose more than two months' worth of reading skills, while their middle-class peers make slight gains.

Summer learning losses can stack up from year to year, causing low-income children to fall further and further behind, ultimately endangering their chances of high school graduation. More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.

What is Summer Brain Gain?

Summer Brain Gain is comprised of one-week modules with fun, themed activities for elementary school, middle school and high school students that are aligned with common core anchor standards. Supported by Disney, each module takes a project-based learning approach: youth engage in a process of learning through discovery, creative expression, group work and a final project or production. As a result, kids develop higher-order thinking skills through the Summer Brain Gain modules while staying on track for the coming school year.

In addition, with support from Staples, BGCA introduced Summer Brain Gain: Read!, a literacy program that complements the larger Summer Brain Gain curriculum. To improve the reading skills of America's youth, Summer Brain Gain: Read! is a summer reading program with a new book presented each week per age group, along with supporting activities that bring the book to life.

Reading Partners

Literacy is the foundation of all successful learning. Without reading, students do not have the skills they need to be successful in their academic careers, and their life options are limited.

Reading Partners works with schools and communities to unlock the skills of students who struggle with reading. The curriculum, delivered by volunteers from the community, has been found to have positive and statistically significant impact on three different measures of student reading proficiency — reading comprehension, fluency, and sight-word reading.

Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Founded in 1989 with its first program at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center), Reach Out and Read has brought the model to all 50 states with more than 5,800 partner sites distributing 6.9 million books a year. Currently Reach Out and Read serves 4.7 million children and families in the U.S, half of them are from low-income families.

According to Reach Out and Read, the best opportunity to influence a child's future is in the first five years, a critical window of rapid brain development. Children who hear fewer words during early childhood start school developmentally behind their peers and may never catch up.

When families read aloud to their young children, they can give them a better start to life. With unparalleled access to families with young children, Reach Out and Read medical providers give books to children at more than 10 well-child visits from infancy until they start school. More importantly, they encourage families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers every day.

Volunteer readers provide a positive reading experience for children in waiting rooms, as well as model reading aloud for parents.

826 National

"826, by design, is a creative space, and the ethos of 826 centers is to encourage creativity. Within 826, there is a 'culture of creativity' driven by a set of norms which infuse daily activity, from the tone set by staff to the way in which tutors work with students to the inventiveness of young people once given the okay to explore.

These norms include: experimentation and risk-taking for student writing; respect for diversity of learning styles; honoring diversity of opinion, race, ethnicity and culture; and experimentation for tutors in working with students on homework and writing." Arbor Consulting Partners

Founded in 2002 by internationally acclaimed author Dave Eggers and award-winning educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia inspired a network of creative writing and tutoring centers now seven cities strong: San Francisco, Ann Arbor/Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The
826 National’s chapters offer a variety of inventive programs that provide under-resourced students ages 6-18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. They also aim to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Their mission is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with individualized attention, and that strong reading and writing skills are fundamental to future success.

826's tutoring program include daily focus on reading and writing. What better way to have a child excited about reading than to combine it with writing to allow the child to express thoughts through writing in  a safe environment.


Read The New York Times article on "How To Raise A Reader" here


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