Friday, January 29, 2016

Parents and reading

Radio Commentary

Sometimes the list of parental responsibilities can appear to be overwhelming. Generations ago it seemed sufficient to feed, clothe, and house a child, providing love and warmth whenever possible.

But the list of “must-do’s” has grown through the generations, and the impact of parental involvement has come into focus.

One item on the list, as most parents know, is the “must-do” of encouraging reading. And it’s clear that most parents are doing a good job of encouraging young children to read.
But research shows that their help plummets drastically once youngsters reach age nine.

A recent study showed that more than half the parents with children under age nine said they read with their children every day.
But only 13 percent of parents with older children reported that they read with them on a daily basis. And shortly after parental reading involvement drops, a child’s television viewing increases dramatically.

As the late Al Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said: “Parents are doing a good job of helping their children learn to read. But they give up too soon. Once a child begins to read independently, a parent’s job isn’t over. It simply changes.”

The study found that teachers see a major gain in reading ability when parents remain involved.

As parents review their “must-do” list of responsibilities, reading should remain high on that list.