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The Best Reading Program Ever

Have you noticed that stores have set up their back-to-school displays? Though it seems that summer vacation just began, there is something about buying new supplies that is exhilerating.

When I was a child my mom would buy our school books in August, and immediately I would pore over all the stories in my literature book. There is something about learning new things—good things—that is exciting.

We tried an experiment in reading when our children were small and were amazed at the results. By way of background, when our oldest children were young, we lived in a dangerous neighborhood and couldn’t send them outdoors to play without an adult watching them. So, several times a day I would sit them around me on the sofa while I nursed the baby and read aloud simple children’s books until they practically memorized them.

One day our five-year-old daughter said, “I know which word says God.” I asked her to point to it, and she did with a shy smile.

“That could be a coincidence,” I thought. But happily, I was wrong. Not long afterward, the same five-year-old picked up a third-grade reading book and began reading fluently as though she had studied phonics for years.

A person could easily think that was one isolated incident. Not so. Her younger sister, at age five, repeated the act of suddenly reading at a high level of proficiency before she had attended school. We had chosen not to have T.V., so they didn't learn to read from watching Sesame Street.

Although I’m not a professional child psychologist, I did raise several children, and can say without a doubt that investing concentrated time in our children pays terrific dividends. Teachers today have limited time and many responsibilities. We as parents, however, can lay a solid foundation for learning if only we will put aside our own interests for a while and give our children one of the most precious commodities we can give them: our time.

Let’s put down our cell phones, cut back the social media, and invest in this nation's future: our own children.

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