Lit­er­acy group to read to chil­dren March 12

Houston Chronicle - - NEWS - By Allen Jones

The Bar­bara Bush Hous­ton Lit­er­acy Foun­da­tion’s Young Pro­fes­sion­als Group will be at the Chil­dren’s Mu­seum of Hous­ton read­ing books to chil­dren dur­ing Spring Break Ex­treme March 12.

Mem­bers of the foun­da­tion’s Young Pro­fes­sion­als Group will con­duct sev­eral read­ings for chil­dren vis­it­ing the mu­seum, 1500 Binz St., be­tween 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The read-aloud pro­gram is be­ing held in recog­ni­tion of Na­tional Read Aloud Month, a pro­gram that pro­motes that spend­ing 15 min­utes a day read­ing to chil­dren im­pacts their long-term suc­cess in school, work and life.

“In Hous­ton alone, three out of five chil­dren en­ter kinder­garten lack­ing es­sen­tial read­ing readi­ness skills,” said Dr. Julie Baker Finck, pres­i­dent of the Bar­bara Bush Hous­ton Lit­er­acy Foun­da­tion, in a news re­lease.”

Re­search shows that read­ing aloud is the sin­gle most im­por­tant ac­tiv­ity that par­ents, grand­par­ents, child care providers, and teach­ers can do to help a child de­velop the foun­da­tional skills needed for learn­ing how to read, thus de­creas­ing low lit­er­acy rates in our com­mu­nity.”

The foun­da­tion united with 15 lo­cal lit­er­acy or­ga­ni­za­tions this month to help in­crease the aware­ness and im­por­tance of read­ing aloud to chil­dren.

The group set up a va­ri­ety of lit­er­acy aware­ness pro­grams, events and ac­tiv­i­ties in ob­ser­vance of Na­tional Read Aloud Month such as read­ing to chil­dren at lo­cal li­braries and schools through­out the city. Foun­da­tion mem­bers kicked off the month­long ob­ser­va­tion with a read-aloud March 2 at Gar­cia El­e­men­tary School on famed chil­dren’s au­thor Dr. Seuss’ birth­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the foun­da­tion, read­ing aloud stim­u­lates brain ac­tiv­ity and helps with emer­gent lit­er­acy and de­vel­op­men­tal skills, such as build­ing vo­cab­u­lary and com­pre­hen­sion; pro­mot­ing let­ter recog­ni­tion and word struc­ture and spark­ing imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity.

It also fos­ters lis­ten­ing and at­ten­tion skills; forms in­ter­per­sonal bonds and self-es­teem; and es­tab­lishes a pos­i­tive as­so­ci­a­tion with books and a love of read­ing.

Ad­di­tion­ally, read­ing aloud in the early years ex­poses chil­dren to story and print knowl­edge, as well as to words and con­cepts un­com­mon in con­ver­sa­tions or dig­i­tal me­dia.

The foun­da­tion is among 10,000 part­ners of Read Aloud 15 MIN­UTES, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion work­ing to make read­ing aloud ev­ery day a stan­dard in child care.

Pro­grams are hosted across all 50 states, said Bob Rob­bins, Read Aloud’s co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, in a news re­lease.

“Our cam­paign’s suc­cess is de­pen­dent on or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Bar­bara Bush Hous­ton Lit­er­acy Foun­da­tion pro­vid­ing lo­cal lead­er­ship and unit­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions through­out a com­mu­nity in re­mind­ing par­ents to be their child’s first and most im­por­tant teacher by read­ing aloud for 15 min­utes ev­ery day start­ing at birth and con­tin­u­ing through third grade,” Rob­bins said.

To learn more about Na­tional Read Aloud Month, visit www.readaloud.org.

To view a com­plete cal­en­dar of lo­cal read aloud events hosted by the Bar­bara Bush Hous­ton Lit­er­acy Foun­da­tion and its part­ners, visit www. BushHous­tonLit­er­acy.org/ReadAloud.

Ac­cord­ing to the foun­da­tion’s web­site, the char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion’s mis­sion is “to im­prove the qual­ity of life for Hous­to­ni­ans through the abil­ity to read, write, and to

speak and think clearly.

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