Did you know that the biggest turning point in a child’s education is the fourth grade? If a child isn’t reading proficiently by then, there is only a 22 percent chance that child will ever catch up to the appropriate reading level. This is just one of the frightening statistics that shed the truth on illiteracy in the United States.
At Boston’s Bridge to Excellence (BBTE), we understand that it’s essential to have strong reading skills. Along with the above statistic, experts have revealed that 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. Sixteen- to 19-year-old girls at or under the poverty level with below average reading skills are also six times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their reading counterparts.
To avoid the dangers of students lacking strong reading skills, there are a couple easy ways to get kids excited to read!
Soliciting anticipation and enthusiasm for reading starts with creativity. Children love being creative so setting up an arts and crafts activity prior to reading time is a no brainer.
Creativity also gives children the confidence to use their imagination. They begin to feel more eager and willing to share their thoughts after reading time.
Read To A PAL
Another way of drawing excitement for reading is by getting the community involved for group readings.
Last summer, BBTE’s Program Administrator Sophia Bishop-Rice facilitated a partnership with The Boston Police Athletic League (PAL). It was then that PAL Executive Director William Stoddard and Police Commissioner William Evans brought a pilot reading program called Read to a PAL to BBTE’s summer students.
Once a week for four weeks, students gathered at the South End Library in Roxbury to listen to read-a-louds conducted by high-ranking police officials. Commissioner Evans was the kick-off reader last summer, where he read Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.
Goals for the students involved in the pilot reading program were to develop social-emotional skills and reverse summer learning loss by preparing children for their return to school in the fall with new vocabulary and better knowledge of their overall health and wellness.
Our partnership with PAL exceeded our intended goals and Commissioner Evans will be returning on February 22, 2017, to engage in another read-a-loud during BBTE’s February vacation week program. The Read to a PAL program will take place at the Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School in Roxbury from 11:30am – 12:30pm.