2015 Dec 2: RIS Reading is a priority

The Holidays are upon us, and I know students and staff thoroughly enjoyed our Thanksgiving Holiday. In less than 3 weeks we will have the opportunity to enjoy the longer Christmas Holidays as well. During those days off, it is important to remember to practice reading skills to insure your child is ready to learn when we return in January. Mrs. Kathy Pelzel, Rockdale Intermediate Principal, has some information that verifies the importance of good reading practices at home.

Reading is important! I think that is something upon which everyone can agree. What benefits do children receive when they invest time in reading each day? The web site Best Books for Kids recently listed the top ten benefits of reading. http://www.best-books-for-kids.com/benefits-of-reading.html

1. Kids who read often and widely get better at it.- At Rockdale Intermediate students are required to read every night for at least 20 minutes. Parents are encouraged to read with their children and discuss what they are reading.

2. Reading exercises our brains.- The written word allows and even requires the reader to paint a mental picture of fantastic events as they unfold. Reading exercises the mind of a child and allows them to imagine exactly the hero or villain they wish rather than the choices made by a movie or television director. The hero you create in your mind is so much more robust than the one created for you in visual media. Reading is always time well spent.

3. Reading improves concentration.- This is something that comes with age.  Focus helps in all aspects of every activity we tackle on a daily basis. It is a critical learning skill. Tackling difficult material requires tenacity and mental endurance. Both of these traits are bolstered while reading. There is so much joy in finding a genre of literature that you love and eagerly devouring the pages to find out what happens next. This is what our children need to learn early and practice often.

4. Reading teaches children about the world around them.- Reading allows our students to experience life outside of Rockdale. They can visit Mount Rushmore by reading Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmoreby Tina Nichols Coury or venture to the bottom of the ocean by reading Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy. Reading opens doors to places one may never travel. The internet may be a great resource for finding a bit of information on a topic but you simply cannot experience a location fully until you lose yourself in a book devoted to the topic.

5. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary and leads to more highly-developed language skills.- Students learn much more from reading than just content. They expand their vocabulary and learn to form sentences. Reading improves a students ability to write. We all agree that we live in the age of technology. The written word is the currency with which employees extend their value to an employer. A copious vocabulary and fluid writing skills will ensure future success.

These are just some of the benefits of reading. Taking time out of our busy schedules to read with our children is clearly an investment in their future that can be enjoyable for the entire family. As Christmas vacation nears, I challenge you to find time over the holidays to read each day with your children. If you invest the time to read with and to your children, one day when they are grown they will come back to you and ask for the books they cherished or the names of them at the very least. They will be eager to read these books to their own children. You will have created a family tradition of learning and exploring worlds that can be experienced in no other way.