Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Promoting and Supporting Reading
As Summer nears an end and the school year begins it is important to keep reading strong throughout the school year. Although I cover a wide variety of topics in my blog one of my personal favorites is promoting reading. Last post I discussed libraries and this one I am showcasing an organization I have been following on Facebook for a number of months. It is the group, Reading Is Fundamental. On their website they say this about their group: “For 50 years, Reading Is Fundamental has used its experience and expertise to motivate and inspire young children to read. It’s not just the books we distribute that make an impact. Our evidence-based program, Read for Success, helps children improve reading proficiency and combat summer learning loss – a contributing factor to the achievement gap.”
Their website, to explore what they are all about is-- rif.org and I would encourage you to explore all they do as an organization to promote reading on their website. What I like about following them on Facebook is that they daily list important quotes about reading and relevant articles about reading.
Education is important for the success of each individual and reading is foundational for educational progress. On their website at the present time they have some challenging statistics to consider. Think about these stats: 65% of 4th graders do not read on grade level; 8,000 high school students drop out every day; and 80% of low income children are at the risk of falling behind in school. If you think about it; reading touches on each of those issues. Reflect on the lost potential in improving our country and personal lives and dreams of young people through the reality of those statistics. Working on the college level, I see the struggles in students at that level because of a lack of passion and interest in reading which is foundational in college study. It looks like society is faced with a large problem.
But when I see on the RIF homepage “Since 1966, RIF has distributed more than 412 million books to 40 million children nationwide, improving their ability to read, learn and grow.” I see RIF as an organization that is part of the solution in their encouraging of reading. Under their Facts section I found out that “RIF was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1966 by Margaret McNamara when she was tutoring young boys and learned they did not own books.” It is amazing the impact one person with a dream can have. I am sure when she started the program she never thought years later that 412 million books would have been donated.
In their Tips and Resources section they have a wide variety of articles on topics such as motivating kids to read, choosing good books, reading aloud, Summer learning and resources of teachers. Parents may also appreciate their activity calendars for the various ages of children. Check these out at this link - http://www.rif.org/books-activities/calendars/ there are reading ideas and creative learning ideas.
Another item I appreciate about liking them on Facebook is they link to important articles about reading such as this one on the importance of conquering illiteracy - http://www.educationandcareernews.com/learning-tools/access-to-books-is-critical-to-ending-illiteracy
I encourage you if you are a Bookhead like me, check out RIF’s webpage as well as liking them on Facebook. Also tell teachers you know about RIF’s services in promoting reading in the school.
Reflection: How can you encourage reading in your sphere of influence? Think about how RIF was begun by one person, Margaret McNamara, wanting to meet a need for young people’s need for reading. What does that say about the power of one.