I love to read. I have always loved to read. When I was a little girl growing up in Indiana, I hid in the closet and the bathroom (sitting on the toilet with my pants up) so I could read. I read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and the Bobbsey Twins. My elementary school had 1 classroom that had been turned into the school library. I was an almost daily visitor. I read biographies of famous explorers and famous Americans. I read many biographies of saints (as I went the St. Therese Catholic School). I would guess that I read nearly every book in that school library and many of them more than once.
Then I moved on to the Waynedale Public Library. More books, more choices, more to read. I had a period of reading historical romance. I actually learned a lot about history and a fair amount about the birds and the bees.
I read some classics in high school. I even read the Little Prince in French. After college when I had more disposal income, I purchased books. I still love to own books. Shortly after I moved to Colorado in September of ’98, some friends and I started a book club. I have been with this same book club for more than 18 years. 6 other ladies and myself meet each month and we read everything…Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mysteries, Self-Help, Classics.
Of course, I was an avid reader to my 2 kids. We loved reading Go Dog Go and Fancy Nancy, Magic Treehouse and the Rainbow Fairies. My son went through a reptile period for so long that I BEGGED his elementary school librarian to stop sending books home about snakes and lizards! I have to admit that when it came to the young adult books, they were so such fun to read when my kids hit middle school: the Harry Potter series (which I have read at least a half dozen times), Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games series, the Divergent Series, The Fault in Our Stars.
I like to read ‘real’ books. I like to read on my Kindle. I read on my phone using the kindle app. I read the newspaper and magazines. I LOVE to read.
About 5 ½ years ago, I decided to find a volunteer organization that allowed me to share my love of reading with others. I joined Reading Partners (www.ReadingPartners.org) as a tutor in Denver, Colorado. Once per week (or twice a week this year twice), I tutor a child for about an hour in reading. I read to her (from Karen 5 years ago to Elizabeth today) and then she reads to me. Reading Partners uses a prescribed curriculum to work on concepts like sight words, fluency, sequence of events, inferences, vocabulary, describing characters, and on and on. I try to pass on my love of reading with each child I have tutored. It’s a gift worth giving.
The statistics around reading and our nation’s children are alarming. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about 1/3 of America’s 4th graders can read proficiently. Once students start to fall behind in reading, they tend to fall faster and further behind their peers every year. The ability to read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade is critical. Fourth grade academic standards assume students have already learned to read and therefore require them to “read to learn” (Center for Public Education 2015). Students who have not learned to read by 4th grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school and this risk is even great for low-income children. Nationally, about 67% of all children and 80% of low-income children do not reach this critical milestone.
Ready to share your love of reading? Reading Partners Colorado just finished their After the Bell campaign, although you can always donate (https://readingpartners.org/donate/). They are always looking for volunteers (I already committed for next year). Please consider donating or volunteering. And remember to read! Read to learn. Read for enjoyment. Read to teach a child or an adult. Read to your child or your niece or nephew or grandchild. Give someone the gift of reading!
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