Halloween is here and soon little ghosts and goblins will be knocking on our doors. Want to know something truly scary? Many of those trick or treaters struggle to read proficiently. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a nonprofit that issues an annual KIDS COUNT Data Book on the well-being of U.S. children across a range of factors, two thirds of fourth graders in public school read below the proficient level. As the report says, “Children who reach fourth grade without being able to read proficiently are more likely to drop out of high school, reducing their earning potential and chances for success.” Now, that should send shivers down our spines!
As parents, many of us send our children to school assuming that our children will successfully learn to read there. Depending on your school, your children, and the preschool preparation you’ve provided, that may be a safe assumption. Unfortunately, for more than half of all public school children in the US, that is not a safe assumption. You see, the trick is that parents must do their part at home (reading to their children daily, encouraging singing, playing, writing, and active play) so that teachers can do their part at school. So be sure to make story time and literacy activities part of your family’s daily life. It can be a real treat for you and your children and promises to make their futures really sweet!