Houston Chronicle

Literacy group to read to children March 12

- 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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