Stack up some must-reads, set a daily reminder and get ready to flash your most dazzling smile – #Read30 is here!
A brand-new viral initiative being launched by The Children’s Trust this month, #Read30 is the latest spoke in the organization’s early learning and literacy umbrella.
“Reading at or above grade level by the third grade is critical to a child’s lifelong success – both at school and in career – so we’ve committed a lot of time and resources toward making sure that every child in Miami-Dade can meet that milestone,” says Trust President and CEO James R. Haj. “Now, as a complement to our Read to Learn campaign, Book Club and Books for Free, we’ve created #Read30 to further support those efforts.”
So, what exactly is #Read30? It’s a social media call to action, a challenge to parents, caregivers and mentors to sit with their child every day this summer and read – to them and with them – for 30 minutes, taking a selfie each time and posting it to their Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram pages with the hashtag, you guessed it, #Read30. Supported by the involvement of local partners like WSVN 7 News anchor Craig Stevens, Univision’s Maria Fernanda Lopez, the Miami-Dade Public Library System and a slew of local radio stations and mommy and lifestyle bloggers, #Read30 is set to become the next ice bucket challenge. And it’s the perfect time to do it.
With the academic year almost over, children across the county will soon be at risk for what experts call the “summer slide” – when kids are out of school and lose a big chunk of the skills they’ve learned there. Keeping up on reading is particularly important, say educators, as children who don’t continue to exercise their literacy muscles over the summer can fall a whopping two years behind by the fifth grade. In fact, summer learning loss is one of the top three reasons why children fail to read at grade level. Those who miss that benchmark may be setting themselves up for long-term hardship: Nearly 90 percent of children who never graduate from high school were poor third-grade readers, and high school dropouts earn less than half of college graduates.
“The research bears it out – reading with your children on a consistent basis is one of the best things you can do to ensure early learning, positive development and scholastic strength,” says Haj. “It’s also a great way to promote bonding and create happy memories.”
Preschool and early elementary school-age children engage most with books that feature faces, animals and objects you can point to and talk about – bonus points if you read using different voices for different characters! Older kids can be encouraged to select their own books; visit the MDPLS website at www.mdpls.org to see monthly staff picks and ask your local librarian for suggestions.
“We’re very excited about the #Read30 initiative,” continues Haj, “and we look forward to seeing Miami-Dade’s children and families come together to read with a smile.”