Reading is a fundamental skill, but it’s concerning that more than 1 in 3 American children enter kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read, as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The organization points out that children who are introduced to reading early on tend to read earlier and excel in the classroom compared to kids who are not exposed to language and books at a young age.
Evidence shows how vital reading is to childhood development and, as a result, we commend the recent initiative by Mary A. White Elementary School and its One School, One Book program. The school kicked off its #CommunityofReaders initiative earlier this month by inviting school families and the rest of the community to join them in reading “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate.
“Our hope is to support families with ongoing activities and strategies that promote a lifelong love of literacy,” said Tracy Lakatos, a teacher and initiative committee member, in a Feb. 1 Tribune article. “Our emphasis will be on the social aspects of reading — on how family, community and literacy all support and build on each other.”
On March 22, families and community members can participate in a book-related trivia night, based on the book.
Given the fact that so many people, young and old, are always looking down at their smartphone, tablet, laptop or another digital device, it’s great to see a school encourage students and community members to slow down, grab a book and read without the distractions that come with high-tech gadgets. As connected as “smart” devices are, we’re often disconnected in our social interaction with others. This reading program will hopefully get members of the community talking about the book, sharing ideas and connecting in ways that aren’t as common in today’s digital age.
And most important is how this program does its part to ensure our children develop the literacy skills they need to succeed throughout school and into adulthood.
Our community will be better off for having events such as this, both in the connections that are built in the discussions surrounding the book and the skills developed through reading.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Mark Brooky, Alex Doty, Josh VanDyke and Duncan MacLean. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to [email protected] or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.