Reading is Still Fundamental

By Alicia Levi

As a proud parent and eternal optimist, I believe that, despite our ever-growing list of obligations, we must take time out of our busy lives to reflect on our past, our hopes for the future and what we can do to help those around us. I can’t think of a better way to do all three than to open up the world for a child with the gift of reading. That is certainly our philosophy at Reading Is Fundamental (RIF).

We believe that every child should be able to read. Reading ignites imaginations and opens a world of possibilities. Every child deserves access to books and to have an adult in their lives who cares enough to teach them how to read.

During National Reading Month, we take extra time to recognize the critical importance of literacy and the crisis point we are rapidly reaching. Only 37% of high school graduates read at or above proficiency. This is the troubling
truth about the literacy crisis in America today, and it impacts children from every walk of life.

Take my youngest child, for example. She struggled with reading at an early age even though, like many of her peers, she attended pre-school from the age of two. My husband and I were shocked when her kindergarten teacher  informed us that she did not recognize letters.

I have spent my career building educational solutions for children, my husband and I are very engaged parents, and yet, somehow, we missed it.

We, like every parent with a child who has struggled with reading, want all the more desperately to provide her with the bedrock of literacy to support her on life’s journey.

To reverse the literacy crisis, we must meet children where they learn and how they learn. Many of today’s children are digital natives with information coming at them in a million different formats, and from a million different sources. Our challenge is to provide them with engaging, multi platform solutions that support a culture of literacy, and ensure that parents, educators and caregivers support these children by giving them the opportunities that knowing how to read provides.

A productive, thriving nation depends on a literate society. Every child deserves the opportunity to own books, learn how to read and obtain the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential.

During the month of March, RIF will launch the Read-A-Million program as part of National Reading Month to collaborate with teachers and schools in encouraging students across the country to read a million books!

Literacy is an essential life skill. Of all the gifts we give our children, knowing how to read is the one that provides the foundation for the rest of their lives. I hope you will join us in offering children hope for the future by inspiring the children in your life to read. Together, we can create change and ensure every child can read and succeed!

THE LITERACY LANDSCAPE

The statistics are shocking, but we can solve the literacy crisis in the U.S.

  • 25 million – children in the United States cannot read proficiently
  • 34 percent – of children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn how to read
  • 65 percent – by fourth grade, 65% of children are reading below grade level
  • 37 percent – of high school students graduate at or above reading proficiency

Make a difference for your children and the children in your community

Participate in RIF’s Read-A-Million challenge during the month of March.

  • Make reading a daily habit in your home. Try designating a reading corner for a cozy reading
    experience.
  • Read a new book with your young learner to explore a new adventure together.
  • Read for 20 minutes each day to a child.
  • Volunteer as a reading mentor at a local day care, school or library.
  • Host a book drive in your community.
  • Donate the books to a local school, library or community center.
  • Champion reading in your community and through social media.

Alicia Levi is the President & CEO of Reading Is Fundamental and is a mother of three. 

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