Saturday, July 9, 2011

Turn Off the TV and Read!‏

As a parent and tween/young adult author, I struggle with the question of how much my 11 and 15 year old children should be reading daily. They’ve been read to regularly since infancy, they see their parents read, they go to the library once a week, and in fact, they enjoy reading, but there is far more competition for their time than existed when we were their age. Between cell phones, iPods, computer games and movies, sports, playing and “hanging out,” reading often comes in last, which too often means not at all.

Despite all the statistics available about how much better children do in school, at careers and in life when they read regularly, we parents just don’t seem to be able to keep our children reading. Almost all parents readily admit that reading is important, but many don’t follow through by making reading more important, or as important, as sports or recreation. Some parents feel that forcing their children to read will cause them to “turn off” as readers. Either way, crucial reading time is ticking by for our children and like childhood, this time and experience cannot be recaptured.

According to the National Council on Teachers of English Standards for the English Language Arts, to participate fully in society and the workplace in 2020, citizens will need powerful literacy abilities that until now have been achieved by only a small percentage of the population. So how do we, as educated adults, get our children to read more? We must act strategically and consistently.

Strategies – for Reading Increase
1.      Reading - A Daily Requirement
2.      Family Literacy
3.      Reward System - Reading Tree (younger children)
4.      Reading Hour
5.      Reading Night
6.      Bed Reading - Stay up Late to Read – Read Before Rising
7.      Reading Outdoors
8.      Graphic Novels and Electronic Reading

Additional facts:
Forty-four percent of American 4th grade students cannot read fluently, even when they read grade-level stories aloud under supportive testing conditions. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Pinnell et al., 1995
Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year. Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988
When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who read well in fourth grade. Arizona Republic (9-15-2004) . 60 percent of America's prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have reading problems. U.S. Department of Education
There are almost half a million words in our English Language - the largest language on earth, incidentally - but a third of all our writing is made up of only twenty-two words. Paul Kropp "The Reading Solution"
56 percent of young people say they read more than 10 books a year, with middle school students reading the most. Some 70 percent of middle school students read more than 10 books a year, compared with only 49 percent of high school students. National Education Association press statement, March 2, 2001

About the Author: Diana  Layman has been a ghost-writer and published author for over 20 years. In the summer of 2007, while on a family vacation to Glacier National Park, Diana
conceived a middle-grade/young adult fantasy-adventure novel based on a
“Lilliputian” world connecting through an access point just outside of
Kalispell, Montana. Returning home to Bozeman, Montana, she started writing
The Magic Strand.
Diana Layman
Author of "The Magic Strand"
An  Online Novel Adventure for Readers: 9 - Adult
ISBN: 978-0-9836218-0-5

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