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How to Raise a Reader

Parents are truly their children's first and most important teachers. It's clear that parents should not leave to schools alone the important tasks of language and literacy development.

> Reading to a child for 30 minutes per day from infancy helps prepare a child to learn. A 5-year-old who has not been read to daily will enter kindergarten with far fewer hours of "literacy nutrition" than a child who has been read to daily from infancy. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours.

Parents who value reading are more likely to visit the library and give books as gifts. Access to quality reading material should continue throughout a child's school years. The NAEP 1998 Reading Report Card found that students with higher reading scores were more likely to report 4 types of reading material in their homes -- encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, and at least 25 books.

Parents cannot assume that schoolwork makes up for too much TV. Children of all ages watch as much TV in one day as they read for fun in an entire week. Overall, children under age 13 spend 90 minutes a day in front of the TV -- one-quarter of their free time.

Adults pass on to children their own expectations about education and achievement, both positive and negative. Shared enthusiasm about books and reading between a parent and child can deepen the child's interest in learning to read. Children who learn from parents that reading is fun may be more likely to sustain efforts to learn to read when the going gets tough.

Source: America Reads: What You Can Do,



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