When Adults Read, Children Succeed

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    Joanie Bache says nearly half of the city of Richmond’s elementary school summer students reported having no books at home last year

    “What happens when a kindergartener can’t speak in complete sentences, identify colors, or show the self-control needed to listen to a story?” asks Bache, executive program director for Read Aloud Virginia.

    “These children are headed for extreme challenges, both socially and economically.”

    RAV has part of the solution to help struggling students gain five years of preparation for school and ultimately, reading success: books that are read to children at home.

    Bache points out that just like sports, reading begins first by watching it; second by listening to it; and third by imitating it. These three simple steps, when reading aloud to children, have long been recognized as the most effective tools to prepare students for the fast track to reading success.

    “To achieve these steps, families must have books in the home from birth,” says Bache. “Parents and caregivers everywhere should not only read aloud and discuss books with children, but also read in front of them so children can see that adults think reading is important, too.”

    Read-aloud guru Jim Trelease, author Of The Read Aloud Handbook, agrees.Just as the most rodeo riders come from the states that have the most horses, most readers come from homes that have the most books,” writes Trelease.

    That’s the concept behind the “home library” initiative sponsored by RAV.Working with college organizations like Virginia Tech’s Herma’s Readers, businesses such as Capital One, scout troops, church groups, schools, and other community organizations, RAV has collected and distributed over twelve thousand books to families each year so they can jump-start their own home libraries.

    Bache says RAV’s Children’s Book Bank is in constant need of deposits of new and gently used children’s books. “We’re trying to reach out to the families who have the books to donate, as well as the families who really need the books in their homes,” says Bache. “We’ll store the books your group collects until we can give them out. Together we can make this happen.”