You might remember this bumper sticker: “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” Updated, it might add, “… And thank the day-care provider who made storytime the best part of your 4-year-old day.” Despite their truth, those words probably are too long for a bumper sticker. So too are these: “And thank the parent who snuggled and read board books when you were 2. Thank the grandparent who recited nursery rhymes when you were an infant.

No one can dispute the power of teachers in children’s lives. But education starts long before kids enter kindergarten — it begins with parents, grandparents, neighbors and daycare providers.

Children start developing their language and reading processes as babies and toddlers. By age 3, a child’s language skills can help predict what his or her reading abilities will be in third grade. A child who falls behind in reading may be at risk of eventually dropping out of school.

That is why reading to, and with, young children is crucial — for them and for society. It primes them for academic success and gets them on the right path.

Everyone in the community can play a role in promoting early-childhood literacy: reading to your own or neighborhood children; conducting story times at “Parents’ Night Out” respite programs; donating high-quality children’s books to daycare centers, youth organizations and family programs; establishing a book-collection center in a workplace; creating lending-libraries in apartment buildings and other developments, such as the Kroc Community Center that is under construction.

Several early-literacy projects already are at work, and they need the community’s support.

The Marion County Children and Families Commission has made “Reading for All” its top priority. Some pediatricians give books to families who come in for wellness checks. Oregon Department of Human Services offices have created reading circles in waiting rooms. Healthy Start and Family Building Blocks are training young parents on the importance of literacy.

The Salem Public Library conducts story times, trains daycare providers in effective reading techniques, and provides board books for Salem Hospital to send home with new parents.

Over time, that familiar bumper sticker should become, “If you can read this, thank a teacher — and your community.”

BE YOUR CHILD’S FIRST MATH TEACHER! – Teach Your Child to Count to 10 – Early Learning Method

IS YOUR CHILD KINDERGARTEN READY? – iCount-to-10 – iPhone/iPad Application

Source: Statesman Journal –