Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tomes For Tots

As a person who loves books and loves to read, I seek to pass on the same passion to my young son who is a toddler.  I have been looking for ways to do this. While I was researching this topic, I came across some statistics about children and literacy which I found to be a little bit alarming.  

Here are some findings and statistics: 

  • of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up on jail or welfare. (
  • 4th grade is the watershed year for reading proficiency.  After that, the child will have a 78% chance of not catching up. (
  • 40% of our nation’s 4th graders do not achieve basic levels of reading proficiency. (
  • 28% of 12th grade students never read on their own (
  • Adults with ability to perform challgening and complex reading tasks make $28,000 more per year salary than those who lack basic skills (National Center for Education Statistics) 
  • Kids who read more minutes per day have higher percentile scores on tests. (
  • Families that share in book conversations have a dramatic improvement in family communication. (
  • Out of school reading habits has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than 1 million words of text in a year (One World Literacy Foundation) 
  • Reading to a child in an interactive style raises his or her IQ by OVER 6 points! (Perspectives on Psychological Science)

I love to read, and I believe it has helped me in life. For example, I just passed 3 different investment licenses this past winter and I noticed in the class that the students who regularly read books, even just for leisure, did better than those who did not. In fact, the key to passing the exams had much more to do with reading comprehension than it did with numbers.    

Being part of Classics Without All the Class, of course fans my enthusiasm for reading, so is it possible a book club for children would do the same for my four year old son? No, I do not anticipate my son sitting in a velvet robe and smoking a pipe while ruminating the Dickensian influence on the Christmas Tradition...not at least until he's 5 anyway...

I'm talking more about simply getting together with his toddler friends to read a book and make it a social event.   I would imagine with the attention span of 3 and 4 year olds, it would be more about play time than reading time, but that would be okay. Karena, our Booktator, has had some wonderful suggestions such as incorporating snacks and crafts into the book group and to make it a theme that coincides with the book itself. For example, if we read “Goodnight Moon”, we can have Moonpies and make a Moon mobile. It would be a time in which we would read the book together, talk about about the book, have snacks, and the kids would probably just start playing at that point.

As part of a semi-regular column here, I would like to keep track of the progress made in putting together a reading group for children. Here are some things I think I would need to do. First, I will have to secure a time and space.  In the beginning I think having the meeting held in a neutral place will be best, then we can discuss having it at a parent’s house. I would have to see if the library staff will be cooperative in allowing me to use one of their rooms.  In securing a time, it will have to be when the library isn’t too busy yet most parents will be available. I notice a lot of parents and grandparents are there after school to pick up their kids, so that may be a good time. Once, this is set I will send out e-vites to the parents of my son’s classmates.  As a class parent, I have their e-mails and regularly keep in touch with them. Then we will all work out what book will be read. I’m wondering if we should do a poll as we do in our book club on Goodreads. 

I would imagine the key to success would be to keep it simple and flexible.  Clearly, this concept is still in its embryonic stages right now. I would love to hear some good feedback and ideas from our followers as we go through this journey together. 

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