It’s Sept. 6. Do you know what that means? It’s Read a Book Day, of course!
In the 21st century, reading and literacy means more than just reading from a book or writing, said Joyce Fine, associate professor of reading education in the School of Education and Human Development.
“Today, literacy means reading, writing, speaking, viewing and graphically representing,” she said. “It means being able to use multimodal texts and navigating the Internet so you could even read a book online.
“Wherever one reads, there are many benefits,” she added.
Among the benefits: reading for enjoyment, or pleasure can help you escape your daily routine, it can help you learn about how people lived in other places and times, or it can help you access vital information for projects. Children can even become fascinated with words or phrases and that will help them improve their vocabulary, Fine said.
So how does the United States rank among the other nations of the world in terms of literacy? According to The Washington Post, a recent study found we have some catching up to do.
Nordic countries are the most literate in the world, and the U.S. came in at 7th place, right behind Switzerland, according to the study.
To catch up, Fine suggests helping children develop a love and interest for reading at an early age.
• Young children, even newborns, should be read to everyday so they can learn the sounds of the languages your family speaks.
• With repetition, they will learn the words to communicate what they understand or need or want, or can imagine. Reading will help them and anyone develop critical thinking.
• If you read the book, the “Bear Ate the Sandwich,” a children’s book, and discuss it with them, they will learn to infer who really ate the sandwich.
• When adults read to children the child hears language that they do not get from everyday speech.
• When they read, they will learn how to comprehend and apply the lessons of the world so they can create their future world.