Increasing childhood literacy is one of the most important causes for United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. A child’s reading level by the end of the third grade is a strong indicator of future academic success and whether they will graduate on time. We work with our Ready Children Impact Partners to promote early childhood reading in our community so that children can build a better foundation for success.
It is more important now than ever before to encourage young children to develop a love of reading. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, only 34% of fourth-graders in the U.S. ranked as proficient or better in reading.
Reading is important for young children for beyond how it can help them fare academically, books can teach them about cultures, activities, places and subjects that they wouldn’t normally have access to. It helps them gain new and different perspectives on life. Research shows that reading can improve a person’s ability to understand what others are thinking and feeling.
When children are active readers they gain important skills like empathy, self-confidence, an expanded vocabulary and pattern recognition.
You may be saying to yourself as you read this, “I want to make a difference in my community but how do I make an impact on my own children’s reading skills?” To help your child get the most out of their reading experience you can do the following:
- Read together with your child, no matter how old they are.
- Pause and ask questions as your child reads to help them make connections.
- Explore your child’s reading preferences so that you can find more books for them to continue reading.
- Talk about the authors and illustrators. This helps children connect to the people behind stories so that they can find similar books in the future.
- Point out new things when you come across new words or ideas. Talk about their meaning with your child.
- Identify parts of the story. Talk with your child about the notions of the beginning, middle and end of stories to organize their thinking.
- The most important tip is to have fun. If your child sees how much fun you have while reading, they will also find it valuable and enjoyable.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County is committed to supporting children so that they can learn the literacy skills that will foster success later in life. One way we actualize this is with our Read United initiative, which focuses on a variety of literacy projects that highlights the importance of early childhood reading. Read United provides the community with virtual storytelling and connects school children with reading buddies. Together with our Impact Partners, we connect families to the tools they need to improve childhood literacy in their homes.