Planting seeds

8 tips to help children become readers and leaders


Summertime is the perfect time for enjoying reading. It can be an opportunity to inspire the reluctant reader by introducing a new book genre like science fiction. Alternatively, it can provide the motivated reader with more time to discover new adventures in the pages of the book. No matter what type of reader your child is, summertime is an invitation for learning and growth.
Summer months can lead to learning challenges or opportunities. In many instances, youth are missing learning activities and academic support throughout the summer. According to the Brookings Institute: “On average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning.” This is a missed opportunity for learning and growth.
Imagine if your child gained a month’s worth of learning and started the next school year well prepared. You have the opportunity to help develop your child’s brain and set them up for this type of future success. By taking intentional action to become engaged in your child’s literacy development, you can prepare them to be strong and confident readers. An investment in reading a new book per week can help to support learning gains.
Reading supports the development of critical thinking skills, creativity, and innovation. It is the foundation of learning. From kindergarten to third grade, students are learning how to read. In subsequent grades, students are reading to learn. Annie E. Casey Foundation noted: “88% of students who failed to earn a high school diploma were struggling readers in third grade.” To promote academic success, it is critically important that children develop basic reading skills at an early age.
You can follow these simple tips below to help support your children in becoming leaders and readers:
1) Read books aloud to children and designate a reading time. This will help to ensure reading becomes a routine and common pastime.
2) Talk to children about life and daily activities. This will help to introduce new vocabulary.
3) Engage in creativity. Sing songs together, create art, and tell stories.
4) Visit your local library weekly. This is a fun, family outing with a wide selection of books, movies, and music to select from.
5) Stop by the Little Free Libraries in your neighborhood. Donate a book or pick out a new book.
6) Participate in your local indie bookstore’s author events and activities.
7) Join Planting People Growing Justice’s newsletter list to receive tips on increasing literacy and reading motivation.
8) Watch the Justice and Friends series. These free virtual read-alouds feature diverse authors.
Through her organization, Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, Dr. Artika Tyner seeks to plant seeds of social change through education, training, and community outreach.


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