Let’s Talk About the Power of Reading
by Ellie Johnson, Manager of Early Learning
September is National Literacy Month, a time to discuss the importance of literacy and consider the role we can each play in promoting the transformative power of reading in our families, in our classrooms, and in our community.
What can you do to honor National Literacy Month?
1. Read with the young people in your life. Literacy skills begin at birth!
Learning to read is a process that begins long before a child starts school. It is never too early to start reading. Since 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics has officially recommended that parents should start reading to their children from birth. When adults read aloud to their children, even when they are infants, they are helping build important foundational literacy skills, such as learning that text has meaning, developing new vocabulary, and learning that reading is fun and enjoyable. Whether a child is 1 month old or 10 years old, reading together is a great way to bond and experience shared learning together.
2. Increase your Awareness. America is in a Reading Crisis.
If you know how to read, it is easy to take it for granted, but national experts are saying that America is in a Reading Crisis, and in Houston, just 37% of students in third grade are reading on grade level. This is not just a data point; this is 23,536 out of 37,629 third graders in our community who are struggling with reading grade level books. Learn about how local districts like Aldine ISD are taking action by building a new district-wide approach to literacy instruction and adopting research-based literacy curriculum. Hear Aldine’s Superintendent Dr. LaTonya Goffney talk about spearheading the change in her district on this national literacy podcast here.
3. Show your support for state policies that promote literacy. Our youth depend on it.
In 2019, state lawmakers passed House Bill 3, which included a new funding stream called the Early Education Allotment, focused on providing more funding for pre-K through 3rd grade. Lawmakers created this new funding source with a recognition that in order to improve literacy skills for students across Texas, there must be a focus on building literacy skills starting with pre-K and Kindergarten. This signaled an important investment by the state of Texas in early literacy, one that our state cannot afford to lose in the 2021 legislative session. You can learn more about House Bill 3 and early education here. Take action by letting your representatives know that you support the early education allotment.
Happy National Literacy Month! Join us in celebrating this month and beyond.