Everyone wants the very best for their kids. The best education, the best nutrition, the best opportunities and more...but where does it all start? It's a pretty broad question, and of course, there's not one specific answer but...one thing has been proven and that's the ability to read is a key element to success early in life as well as later on down the road in any endeavor. It's known pretty well too that early reading leads to a lot more than just the ability to read, it leads to a better one on one relationship between parents and kids and helps develop a bond that will serve a lifelong purpose.
The Great Start Collaborative in Muskegon is an agency of educators, healthcare providers, parents and business leaders who all come together to work on some key factors like all children are born healthy, they are developmentally on track until 3rd grade and reading proficiently levels are where they need to be. It's an all hands on deck effort and it all begins before birth actually. The sound of the parents voice reading pre-natal and beginning right at birth...the chances of a successful entry into the school career are almost guaranteed. It's a key factor not only for development but confidence and self assurance to have that bond formed.
Research shows that children who are read to at home, from birth are exposed to as many as 30 million more words before kindergarten as children who are not. That's staggering figure and it doesn't always have to be "at home". Think about where you are and what you are doing. Are you in a store? Is reading a box of your child's favorite cereal an incentive to get them to use some words? How about a toy store? Can they read a little about the toy they want as a goal to get it? Can you just window shop and look to find words in things that are every day items? It doesn't have to be you in a rocking chair reading, reading can be an adventure, it's all in the mind of the one in charge...and as a parent...that's you!
Of course, The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District has an interest in this, after all, it's their job to help students perform at their highest level at any age, so they work very hard to help make sure that Read Early, Read Often is a message that gets out loud and clear and everyone in Muskegon gets the word. Read Early, Read Often Week begins May 12th. You will find a huge list of events and fun things to do all surrounding reading, libraries, story times, museums...some cool contests and special events. There will also be a book drive all month with drop off points all over Muskegon County where you can re-purpose the books you've already read early, and often with your youngster so others can do the same.
I had a chance to meet up with Allison Keeson with The Great Start Collaborative, Dr. John Severson and Stuart Jones both of the Muskegon Area ISD to talk about the importance of Read Early, Read Often and all of the excitement building around the events coming up in early May. Take a listen!
As we spoke in the story, growing up at our house....reading was first and foremost. It went on long into my teen years. Cat in the Hat became Word Power out of the Readers Digest. Lap time as a kid turned into a mind challenge to understand words, word origins and to be able to figure out what words were even if I wasn't quite sure of what was the meaning. Take advantage of all that's going on in May to help get that spark underway in your family for the Read Early, Read Often campaign. The resources are all here for you and there is no better time to start than now on the future for your kids. To learn more about Read Early, Read Often, click on the photo below to visit their website through the MAISD.