The books are everywhere. In and on the nightstands that flank both sides of the bed. On the closet shelves that were intended for shoes. The short wooden book shelf that is tucked in the closet beneath the space were you do put your shoes. Throughout both of your daughters’ bedrooms. On the ceiling high shelves in the piano room. And, most importantly on one entire wall in the unfinished basement. On those shelves the books literally fill every nook and cranny. A number of titles on the main shelves remain arranged alphabetically by the last names of the authors, but the left over spaces between the top of the books and the bottom of the higher shelf, even more books are store horizontally.
You are a family of readers. In fact, right now the back seat of your otherwise very clean and neat car is full of another 30 titles that you picked up when you drove 30 miles to the annual Book Bazaar on your younger daughter’s college campus. Never mind that the event was a 12 hour drive one way. Never mind that you already have title after title in the basement that you keep meaning to get to. No one can ever have too many books.
Academic Excellence Depends on Parents Reading to Young Children
On the opposite side of the basement book wall there is another shelf. And this one book space, of all the others in the house, perhaps carries the most memories. It is filled with the childhood books that you read to your daughters. When they were young, both you and your husband shared your passion with reading with your children. Sure, you read the girls bedtime stories, but you also read to them several times throughout the day. While you were waiting for an oil change. While you were making a long road trip in the car. Any time one of them crawled into your lap with a book.
You read yourself as well.
When your girls were old enough to first start trying to imitate you and your husband, what they did was crawl themselves up into a chair and read a book. Both girls knew this was how life was done in their home.
As study after study continues to show that parents reading to their children is the single greatest indicator of academic success, parents across all socioeconomic levels can know that they can make a difference. Whether or not a parent can afford to pay tuition for a private school education, they can still have an impact if they take the time to read to their children. When children are read to, and when they see their parents reading, they are being set up for success. This is a fortunate fact for families who wish they could pay tuition costs for a better school, but instead settle for another school. And while the range of success of public schools throughout the nation may differ, all parents can find a way to level the playing field for their children by reading to them.
When you realize that only 25% of all U.S. schools are private, you understand the impact that public school education has on children. Finding a way to make sure that your child is getting the best advantage, whether you are paying tuition or not, depends on you taking the time to open a book and invite a child onto your lap. From beginner books that tell a story with only a few words to a set of fat novels in a series for young teens, the books that make up your lives will help create the world of your child.
As many as 68% of four year old children were enrolled in preschool programs as of 2017. The number inches even higher to 86% for five year olds. These numbers are encouraging and public schools strive to get the most vulnerable children into organized classrooms sooner rather than later, but reading to children has an even bigger impact than these preschool classrooms.
Tuition costs aside, no matter where you send your children to school, you can supplement a child’s and grandchild’s education by making reading a priority.