Sun Editorial: Let’s encourage reading all year

National Read Across America aims to turn our children into lifelong readers

Schools throughout the area are gearing up to celebrate National Read Across America, an annual motivation and awareness day encouraging children to read. While the National Education Association marks the event on March 2 – the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss – many schools turn the reading celebration into a weeklong affair.

National Read Across America, however, goes far beyond March. The overarching purpose is to create lifelong successful readers. And it’s our job to help this purpose come to fruition.

Start young. Read to your children every day. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 26 percent of children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet. Children who are read to frequently also are more likely to count to 20 (or higher), write their own name and read (or pretend to read).

Fill your home with books and magazines. Give your children endless options. The Educational Testing Service says that the more types of reading materials there are in the home, the higher students are in reading proficiency.

Perhaps most importantly, make reading fun. In its recently released Kids and Family Reading Report, Scholastic found a large drop in reading enjoyment between ages 8 and 9. Instill this lesson from the beginning. Reading is not work; reading is fun.

And don’t forget to be a good reading role model. Pick up a book for yourself, too. Children who see parents reading will be more inclined to read on their own.

Let’s help create a generation of lifelong readers.