I think we’ll all agree on this one. Or at least we better. Otherwise we just might not be friends any more. Of course, R is for running. I’m at mile 241 of a 1,000 mile challenge. But that’s not what R is for today. I asked Crash was R is for. His first word was rascal. Yes, definitely. They are rascals for sure. Perhaps I should introduce them to the “Little Rascals”? But they really don’t need the extra encouragement. Today, I’m acting the proper teacher parent.
R is for reading. Its importance can’t be stressed enough. In case you’re better at reading than math, check out these numbers. All it takes is 20 minutes a day. There are 180 days in a school year. Assuming a child reads 25 words per minute, that would total nearly two million words! And that’s not counting weekends and summer time! If you read on the weekends and through the summer, the number of words sky rockets to over three and half million words. And remember, that’s a low estimate for a good reader.
In our house, reading has been reserved for bedtime. Sometimes, I’ll call a reading time out when Crash and Bang are having trouble playing together. Sometimes they go to their own room to read and sometimes Crash will read to Bang. Either way, reading is taking place and the fighting stops for a few minutes. Crash loves his electronics, but his time on them is limited. I’ve offered ways for him to earn more time by reading or running on the treadmill (I’m still waiting for him to ask, “What if I read while I’m running on the treadmill?”). He hasn’t taken me up on the offer yet. Guess he’s content with his 30 minutes of screen time. Still, he can’t go to bed without reading, no matter how late it is.
Reluctant readers are like writers blocks and aliens. Some people think they exist, some don’t. It only makes sense that there are kids who just don’t like reading. However, I believe if you find just right the material in just the right medium, they’ll be more willing. Books, magazines, graphic novels, fiction, non-fiction, pretty much whatever they are interested in. Pique their interest and you can get them hooked – or at least willing.
Words have power. What would the world be like had Harriet Beacher Stowe not written “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” or if Adolf Hitler hadn’t written “Mein Kampf”? Once a child learns to use words, the world will be at their fingertips. In a world where “Google” has become a verb and texting is the preferred method of communication it’s becoming increasingly important to understand writing.
Lastly, it’s how we define ourselves. Think about the words you have heard or read and now use to describe yourself. Those words you believe to be true about yourself today will help you determine who you will be in the future. The same holds true for children. Give them the power to define themselves, understand the world and think for themselves.