By Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools
Why read for 20 minutes at home? The data that a lot of research has shown. Children who do so collect in their dome, a better than best chance to score higher on tests.
Clinton Primary School honored Dr. Seuss during a “Read Across America” celebration that emphasized the importance of parents and children reading together.
Fourth grade teacher Lynda Cole told the parents and students at the local event that research has shown children who read for 20 minutes per day at home compile a reference pool of 1.8 million words over a year that typically results in student performance on standardized tests within the 90th percentile.
“Which is exactly what we want for our kids,” Cole said.
Consequently, where Student A reads for 20 minutes a day with that anticipated result, Student B reads only five minutes per day, yet still compiles a reference pool of 282,000 words in a year and typically scores in the 50th percentile on standardized tests.
The research shows that children who maintain the reading regimen of Student A beginning in kindergarten through sixth grade will accumulate the equivalent of 60 school days worth of reading, while Student B will accumulate 12 days.
“You see why the difference is important,” Cole said.
She said if parents allow their children to read and “finger point” along the text, they begin to build a reading habit. Parents should ask questions during the reading to connect particular words or phrases with characters, settings, story action and problem solving.
“A lot of stories we read to our children actually relate to life,” Cole said.
A key component to good reading habits is taste, she explained, recalling a mother who told her that simply allowing her son to read action/adventure graphic novels which he enjoyed produced a direct correlation to improvement in his school work.
“Find characters that they like and they will respond,” Cole said.
CPS teachers dressed as characters from the popular Dr. Seuss books and read aloud to students and their parents during the evening. Students Piper Samuel and Jaime Rodriguez won the prizes for the evening drawing and the “fish guess” contest.
Thursday was “Read Across America” Day, which coincided with the birth of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of some 60 children’s books such as the “Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” and the Horton series of stories.