Read Across America

Published on Thu, Mar 4, 2004
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Read Across America

This year the National Education Association�s Read Across America Day celebration March 2 was timed to coincide with the �Seussentennial,� the 100th anniversary of the birth of Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of the Cat in the Hat and scores of other well-loved children�s books. Blaine schools celebrated with the Cat�s signature red and white stovepipe hat, Seusssian special events and lots and lots of reading.

Some childish literary facts...

�In 1999, 26 percent of children who were read to three or more times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet compared to 14 percent of children read to less frequently. Children who were read to frequently are also more likely than those who were not to count to 20 or higher (60 percent versus 44 percent), to write their own names (54 percent versus 40 percent), and to read or pretend to read (77 percent versus 57 percent). (National Center for Education Statistics, 2000.)

�In 1999, only 53 percent of children ages three to five were read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read aloud to every day than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line. (National Center for Education Statistics, NCES Fast Facts, Family Reading)

�The more types of reading materials there are in the home, the higher students are in reading proficiency (Educational Testing Service, America�s Smallest School: the Family, 1999.)

�Students who do more reading at home are better readers and have higher math scores; however, students do less reading for fun as they get older. (Educational Testing Service, America�s Smallest School: the Family, 1999.)

�Having kids read a lot is one of the crucial components of becoming a good reader. Young readers need to become practiced at recognizing letters and sounds. The only way to get good at it is to practice. (�Reading Research Read to Go.� NEA Today, January 1999.)

�Generally the more students read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores. Between 1984 and 1996, however, the percentage of 12th graders that reported that they �never� or �hardly ever� read for fun increased from nine percent to 16 percent. (U.S. Department of Education, The Condition of Education, 1998.)

�56 percent of young people say they read more than 10 books a year, with middle school students reading the most. Some 70 percent of middle school students read more than 10 books a year, compared with only 49 percent of high school students. (Poll conducted for NEA by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, February, 2001).

�The substantial relationship between parent involvement for the school and the reading comprehension levels of fourth grade classroom is obvious. Where involvement is high, classrooms score 28 points above the national average, a gap of 74 points. Even after controlling for the other attributes of communities, schools, principals, classes and students that might confound this relationship, the gap is 44 points. (U.S. Department of Education, Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, 1996.)