Q: I'm a fifth-grade teacher who hopes you alert readers to a new report saying what teachers have said for years: Our children are falling behind in reading and many parents are clueless. For example, a mother asked me what kind of video game to buy her son for Christmas that would help him read better. I said, buy him books. Her response? "But he doesn't like to read." Parents need to get smarter about this crisis. Tell them to make reading part of their lives. Teachers can't do it alone!
A: I understand your frustration. Educators are always saying loud and clear to parents: If you want to do one thing to significantly increase your child's chances for success in school, make reading a priority in your home from infancy. (...)
"To Read or Not To Read" analyzes reading patterns in the United States and gathers statistics from more than 40 studies on the reading habits and skills of children, teenagers and adults.
Among other findings:
* The number of books in a home is a significant predictor of academic achievement.
* Children and teens that read for pleasure daily or weekly score better on reading tests than infrequent readers.
* On writing tests, children and teens that read for pleasure easily outscore those who don't.
* Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier.
* On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading. (...)
To those who say kids are reading just as much, they're just reading online, Iyengar says, "Our research took into consideration online reading and yet, there is still an alarming decline when kids hit their teens. Americans are not only reading less, we're reading less well and there are significant implications." For parents who want to give their kids a leg up on life, the study is offers a simple message: make reading for pleasure a daily priority in your home from a child's first weeks on Earth. Children who read often for pleasure do better in school and find a surer path to college. (...)
Source: Kankakee Daily Journal, IL