Sunday, February 13, 2011

Page Ahead

  Last Friday I did my monthly story time at the Jennie Reed Elementary School in Tacoma.  I am a Story Time Volunteer with Page Ahead, a children's literacy program based here in Seattle, whose motto is Giving Kids in Need the Chance to Read, how great is that?!  I love this program and I absolutely love doing story time.  My classrooms include Kindergarten and Head Start, which means that the kids are enthusiastic, excited, and definitely energized!  Our theme last week was dogs, so we read two or three picture books about dogs (i.e. Dogs by Emily Gravett, which the kids LOVED, its such a simple story with fantastic illustrations and the kids just ate it up), interspersed singing a few songs about dogs (i.e. Bingo, How much is that doggy in the window..), did some fingerplays and stretches to shake the sillies out, and ended with a craft (i.e. folding paper into the shape of a dog's head and coloring a face on it) and that's it!  The kids love this whole program so much, and their positive reaction, engagement and excitement for reading is just so uplifting to witness, I recommend getting out in your community and reading to kids any chance you get!  The benefits of instilling a lifelong love of reading in a child are immense, just look at Page Ahead's stats-
"Literacy can make the difference between the poverty of one generation and the promise of the next. Page Ahead helps children realize their potential by providing them with the inspiration to read.
Page Ahead operates on one simple and astounding fact: being read to as a youngster is the foremost predictor of academic success in childhood. If a child can read at grade level by 3rd grade, she will continue to read at grade level throughout her academic career. A child who succeeds in school will remain there, earning a chance at a better job and a better life in the years ahead. A child who lacks early exposure to reading often suffers from low self-esteem, struggles academically, and is at higher risk for substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and delinquency. Succeeding begins with reading."
Thankfully, since 1990 Page Ahead has worked to place 2 million! new books into the hands of 550,000 at-risk children through collaborations with schools, social service agencies, preschools, and early childhood centers across Washington State. 

If you want to learn more about Page Ahead's mission or you are interested in volunteering, please visit their website

Being read to as a child fosters boundless imagination and creativity, it opens up a world of unlimited possibilities, it creates better readers and future writers, it builds a bond between between parent and child that lets the child know just how much they are valued, appreciated and LOVED- and that is an amazing truth.  Read, read, read, it can truly change the world.

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