Give a Book, Get a Reader, and Thank Your Lucky Stars

Can you remember the moment you realized that a book could take you to a whole other world?

Whether it was a made-up world or part of the real world from a different angle or different point of view, it was new for you. And the magic carpet, your time portal, your door to the secret garden was a book!

And the magic carpet, your time portal, your door to the secret garden was a book!

Those of us for whom reading was a treasured pastime will never really know how much of an impact it made on our lives, but today, there’s all sorts of research on the subject.

California’s “Talk, Read, Sing” campaign reminds us that you can’t start reading to kids too soon. The Annie J. Casey foundation issued a report in 2010 entitled “Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of the Third Grade Matters” that alerted educators and parents to the relationship between third grade reading proficiency and high school graduation levels.

In 2011, the American Educational Research Association followed up by publishing a study by sociologist Donald J. Hernandez that gave more specifics, saying that “a student who is not reading at grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time.”

It follows then, that pulling out all the stops to get children to think of themselves as readers by the time they finish the third grade is a worthy endeavor. Hopefully, the “Muffin Project” that A&M is doing with M.C. Tillson can help turn some more third graders into readers.

If you grew up in a household of readers, you should thank your lucky stars.

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