Children who are routinely read to day in and day out—and immersed in rich talk about books and the various activities in which they are engaged—thrive. And those children with less exposure to books face tougher learning challenges in school and beyond.—Scholastic, Early Literacy
Once a mainstay of American family life, the activity of reading together as a family has dropped precipitously, often due to the onslaught of electronic distractions, dual working parents, the rise of single parent homes, and a general lack of awareness of the vital need for reading at home with children, particularly among impoverished households. Meanwhile, the crucial window of opportunity to develop high reading proficiency levels among young children passes by all too quickly, with lifelong detrimental results. Despite this fundamental need, less than half of young children in the United States are read to each day.
Among the children Kids Need to Read serves, a startling number have no books at home with which to enrich their lives. While there should be a sense of urgency for caregivers to read to and with their children during their earliest years, many parents are simply unaware that such repetitive experiences are vital to the wiring of the brain and to long-term success. This is why the READ Together program partners with schools and other literacy organizations to encourage adult caregivers to read every day with their children. The program utilizes a wealth of books, educational resources, tips for caregivers on the go, and inspiration, all designed to increase at-home reading activities. Through the use of these books, educational handouts, live presentations, story time, and other supporting resources, the program engages kindergarten and first grade school students with a foundational focus on increasing reading proficiency levels for their future success.
We know that literacy is learned and illiteracy is passed along. Repetition is the key, but without plentiful reading, awareness-building, and inspirational resources, there will likely be no increase in reading proficiency levels. By teaming up with schools and other literacy organizations to vigorously mitigate this issue head on, Kids Need to Read will continue to connect children with books, and illustrate the connection of books with a brighter future, resulting in a more literate, productive community.
I must say—my first assessment of these little books is “YAY”: (1) short books kiddos can start with, (2) easy books the non (or very little)-English speaking parents can monitor, and (3) interesting books that appeal to such a wide variety of children. Super job choosing these books for a program like this. Excellent.
—Vicki Latham, Teacher and Adopt A School Coordinator, Spann Elementary School, Jackson, Mississippi (In reference to READ Together program books)
Reading together not only effectively impacts reading proficiency levels among children but also helps to promote positive bonding between children and their caregivers, leading to cognitive, social, and emotional development. Caregivers can encourage reading by having books available in the home and setting aside time for children to read daily. Here are a few helpful ideas:
- Be sure to take regular adventures to your local public library, Little Free Library, garage sales, bookstore, or used bookstore to keep your children's lives enriched beyond measure! Make sure children are regularly bringing books home from their school library.
- Have children read aloud in the kitchen while a caregiver is cooking or washing dishes.
- Encourage children to take turns reading the bedtime stories so everyone can spend time reading AND listening.
- Cuddle in a chair together alternating the adult reading one side of the book and the child reading the other.
- When reading aloud to budding readers, point to the words as you read them. This will help develop sight recognition of words.
- If a child is reluctant to read aloud to an adult, have them read to a pet, baby, or younger sibling. Many humane societies welcome kids to read to the animals waiting to be adopted, as well.
- Allow children to read wherever they enjoy reading: a special chair, by a pool, under a tree, etc.
- Tell children they can stay up 30 minutes beyond bedtime provided they are reading.
- Families with older children can read novels individually and then schedule regular book discussions together.
- Help adolescents create a Teen Book Club with their peers.
- Never leave home without a book. Whether waiting at a doctor's office or waiting for a movie to begin, have a book ready to read together. Passengers can read to children during car trips, too—a terrific alternative to endless video gaming or DVDs.
- Model excellent reading behavior in your home. Establish an exclusive reading time where the entire family is reading.
Looking for great book suggestions? You can start with the Kids Need to Read recommended reading list.
READ Together Family Tips (English/Spanish) PDF Download
READ Together Impact Reports
Learn more about READ Together
- KNTR Releases 2015–2016 READ Together Impact Report and Case Study
- Frank Kindergarteners' Special Surprise
- NBAZ Charities Provides $1,300 Grant to READ Together
- GreaterGood.org Donates Over 75,000 Books to KNTR
- Kathy and Jerry Wood Foundation Awards $25,000 Grant to READ Together
- Mesa Host Lions Roar for Kids Need to Read
- Cardinals Charities Awards KNTR $2,500 for “READ Together”
- READ Together is “Kindled” by Kindle Book Review with $500 Sponsorship
- John F. Long Foundation Awards $1,500 to KNTR for “READ Together”
- Author Steven Riley Inspires “READ Together” Kids
- #GivingTuesday Results in 36,331 Highlights Magazines for KNTR!
- Fiesta Bowl Charities Honors KNTR with $5,000 for “READ Together”
- KNTR Receives $6,000 from Cox Charities for “READ Together”
- Kids Need To Read Org Selects uKloo Game for National School Program
- Boeing Employees Support “READ Together” with $5,000 Grant
- Mesa United Way Pledges $2,164 to KNTR READ Together Program
- Mesa based foundation provides books to disadvantaged youths
- Phoenix Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club & KNTR: Passionate for Literacy
- Howling for Books: AZ Coyotes/Howler Partner with KNTR at Phoenix Comicon, Homeward Bound
- KNTR Awarded $25,000 National Grant from Kathy and Jerry Wood Foundation
- Kids Need to Read is In Need of Reading Buddies!
- Kids Need to Read Inspires Phoenix Area Students to Read
- It's Raining Magazines—32,820 Highlights to Be Exact!