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The benefits of reading

Travel the road of success
Travel the road of success
AP/Shaye Areheart Books

Remember the days when reading was an activity celebrated by both parents and children alike?  Days when the patriarch of families read the daily newspaper and the matriarch read novels for pleasure.  As such, the children modeled their parents and reading was represented in each and every home in the neighborhood.  Why has reading become frowned upon?  Why is reading no longer celebrated but a forced activity?  It is a devastation to think about this as reading is attributed to an individual's success.  According to Pamela Petty (2006), "approximately 50% of high school graduates will not be able to read at a level demanded for a college freshman."  So, the dilemma is how to restore the lost art of reading in our culture?

The initial step is to model reading by incorporating activities based around reading.  This may be done in many ways.  One way is to have a small family library of books and magazines and establish one night per week where everyone reads and discusses the highlights of the literature.  The step is small but beneficial in creating habits which will affect the rest of a child's life.  Another step is to visit a local library or bookstore as a Saturday activity.  A Saturday afternoon does not necessarily need to be one of sports.  Also, playing word games,such as, Scrabble promotes the use and building of words which enhances vocabulary.  Lastly, as reading skills are strengthened, have your child journal ideas about the reading.  Journaling ideas may include what was interesting, or how the reading connected to them or predictions of what may occur next.  In the Valencia area, the College of the Canyons is offering a summer reading program for children and adults. This is an opportunity to promote reading while learning additional skills to become a more successful reader and life learner.

After incorporation of activities, define a purpose for reading.  There are a select few who read for pleasure.  However, even if reading is not a person's favorite activity, when it is done reading comprehension is expanded, along with a greater vocabulary.  Also, reading provides a wealth of information for children to express themselves.  Lastly, as children read more they are exposed to complex ideas which transfer into writing as well.  Recently printed in Star Publications (March, 2010), "without a doubt, a well-read student is more imaginative and has the ability and confidence to take an ingenious approach to connect the dots compared to others who might not be able to relate to certain situations."  Therefore, reading assists a student in staying competitive in the academic arena. As such, help your child find a genre of literature, whether it is fantasy, mystery, or folklore.

The overall benefits of reading will help your child on the high school exit exam, the SAT and once they enter college to succeed.  So begin today by building the blocks to promote reading in your household and in your children.  "No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy," (L.A. Times,"A Child Literacy Initiative for a Greater Los Angeles Area).