May is National “Get Caught Reading” Month, and we’re excited to help you “catch” your children reading!
Dedicated to encouraging a lifelong love of reading in children and teens, the year-round “Get Caught Reading” campaign was established in 1999 by the Association of American Publishers; it’s now managed by the non-profit Every Child A Reader. During the month of May, the campaign ramps up efforts to inspire young readers, and challenges everyone to “get caught reading”—at school, at home, on a bus; in a treehouse, at the library or in a park; alone, with friends, with family or even alongside strangers. In addition to some encouraging affects from the power of reading, we’ve rounded up a few tips on how to foster those “get caught reading” moments in your everyday life.
The Importance of Reading
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, children who are read to at home enjoy a substantial advantage over children who are not. If you’re an educator, we encourage you to share this information with families in your program to validate the love and time they are investing in their children while reading.
The NCES reports that children who are read to frequently (at least 3-4 times a week) are more likely to:
- Recognize all letters of the alphabet
- Count to 20, or higher
- Write their own names
- Read, or pretend to read (a developmental precursor to actual reading)
- Have stronger reading skills and higher math scores as they get older
Our friends, The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) tells us that reading together will strengthen your relationship with children through the physical closeness and conversation that is part of sharing books with infants and toddlers. In addition, reading together from an early age develops listening skills and prepares children for story time once they enter preschool.
The NAEYC also points out that books are indispensable for expanding a child’s growing vocabulary. Storybooks often use words in ways that are different from how we use those same words in everyday conversation or introduce words that are generally absent from day-to-day speech. A story about napping, for example, can contain related words such as slumbering, snoozing, and dozing, which adults may rarely use in a conversation with a child. By hearing or reading new words and having them defined by an adult, children’s word comprehension will grow, and they will eventually incorporate new words into their spoken vocabularies!
Helping Children Get “Caught”
- Create a cozy reading nook in your classroom with books easily accessible
- Place books for all ages in the car, so everyone will have something to read. (Older children can even read to those who haven’t yet mastered the skill)
- Get caught reading to young children: find a snug spot in the home or classroom and create a routine that carries on throughout the year.
- Visit the local library, and let children select books. The librarian can help make suggestions based on each child’s interests.
Tips for Older Kids and Adults
- Include a book in every room in the house.
- Encourage reading during stressful times as a way to distract the mind away from worries and to refocus.
- Tuck magazines or a slim book into your bag: any time you have some free time you’ll have something to read rather than picking up your phone.
This month’s celebration is a simple idea with broad and far-reaching effects. Keep in mind, the world is our children’s first classroom, and they are always watching, and processing your behavior. When you model a respect for books and love for reading, it will inspire a lifetime of positive habits in our kids! It’s up to families and the leading adults in our children’s lives, to supply the building blocks of literacy from infancy; reading by example and nurturing a love of reading will make the process a joy-filled part of everyday life.