Reading is a serious matter for children

Posted: February 4, 2016 in Education
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Reading, Child literacyWe were shocked by a report released from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in 2014,stating that only 40% of Charlotte Mecklenburg third graders were reading at grade level. We never suspected that in 2016 we would be reading such statistics for 3rd graders. Obviously something is terribly wrong and if the problem isn’t nipped in the bud immediately, it will lead to a domino effect of other societal problems that can become menacing. Read Charlotte, a collaborative, community-wide movement aims to double the percentage of 3rd grade students reading at grade level from 40% now to 80% in 2025. This collabortion is focusing on starting at birth, by working together and investing only in programs that work.

National research indicated third-grade reading was a strong indicator of both high school graduation and college matriculation. Although Charlotte-Mecklenburg students rated better than the average for large public cities (26%) and the national average (34%), this is not only a local concern but a nationwide concern.

While we look at the effectiveness of learning in our public schools, we can’t always expect teaching beyond the classroom to come solely from our teachers. Continued learning is also the responsibility of the parents/guardians of these students. Reading has always been fundmental in our development, as children and even as adults.

According to a recent article on, This is your child’s brain on reading, notes that when parents read to their children the difference shows in children’s behavior and academic performance. They go on to say that, “The researchers saw that, when the young children were being told a story, a number of regions in the left part of the brain became active. These are the areas involved in understanding the meaning of words and concepts and also in memory. These same brain regions have been found to be active when older children listen to stories or read.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start reading out loud to their children from the time they are born.

Children who are exposed to books and reading at a very young age tend to perform better on a variety of levels (better vocabulary, higher literacy and better concentration). In this day and time with so much access to books and other child-friendly reading materials, we should not have any child who is in grade school underperforming in their reading levels.

Perhaps we need to consider turning off the television, games and mobile devices, and require children to get in a certain amount of reading every day, outside of their normal homework and required school reading. Illiteracy, functional literacy and aliteracy are not acceptable, especially in a country rich with reading resources and millions of books.


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