November 20, 2015
Thanks for Reading Days
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Thanks for Reading Days
Did you know a baby's brain has about 100 billion neurons at birth; by age 3 there will be about 1,000 trillion connections between them?
A baby's brain is making trillions of connections during the first few years of life - the fastest it will ever grow. They are developing language skills and will often quadruple the number of words they know between ages 1 and 2 years.
But unfortunately, some children will hear 30 million fewer words than their peers before age 4. This is known as the Achievement Gap - the disparity in learning that often occurs between those children from the highest socio-economic status (SES) and those from the lowest SES. Studies have shown the number of words a child knows when entering indergarten is predictive of future learning success. They have also shown that those who fall behind are likely to stay that way. Children not reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school!
In Florida, 28% of the children enter school unprepared to learn.
Those familiar with our Shaping Futures Blog have heard this message before. It's also why we launched an initiative last year to encourage and engage families enrolled in our Early Head Start (EHS) program to read to their infants and toddlers 15 to 20 minutes every day. We held meetings with family members and shared information about the importance of reading to infants & toddlers and its' impact on an infant's brain. Each family was asked to keep and turn in a weekly reading log.
We are encouraged by the progress we are seeing. Parents are reading and turning in weekly reading logs. Most are reading more days than not -- it's a good start!
This year, the week before Thanksgiving, between Monday, November 14 and Thursday, November 17, we are asking community leaders and volunteers to visit our Early Head Start centers and read to a class of 8 children as part of Thanks for Reading Days. We began Thanks for Reading Days two years ago as way of demonstrating the significance of reading to children and to encourage community leaders to visit and see what we do in our centers to help prepare children and families to succeed in school and in life. It only takes 30 minutes to read a couple books and interact with the children and the teachers and kids really enjoy having guest readers. Equally important is that the readers have a fun time as well.
We'll be sharing information and posting photos of Thanks for Reading Days activities on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter during Thanks for Reading Days. Easy access to our social media links can be done through our web site's home page, so check it out at www.kidsincorporated.org.
If you'd like to read to a classroom of children during Thanks for Reading Days at one of our centers in Leon, Jefferson or Madison counties, please contact Judie Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 414-9800, ext. 104. We've got the books and the eager children (ages 0 through 3 years)...we just need some readers who want to share some time and stories with our kids!