Wow! Am I the only one who missed winter? Hard to believe that spring is here! Soon we will be wrapping up another school year. The midyear assessment data that we recently received from our campuses once again demonstrates the impact of our Reading Buddies’ work with, and dedication to, their students. However, with approximately one third of the school year still ahead, we must continue to read with, read to and mentor our young charges.
And, if you are not currently a Reading Buddy, we welcome you to begin the process of becoming one for the 2017 – 2018 school year. Or you can volunteer right now with our Book Buddy initiative by either helping to sort and select donated books, or collecting and donating books. Research is clear when addressing the issue of how a lack of books in the home correlates to lower reading achievement in children. Sixty-one percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for the children. While low-income children have, on average, four children’s books in their homes, a team of researchers concluded that nearly two-thirds of the low-income families they studied owned no books for their children. (US Dept. of Education, 1996). The only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home. An analysis of nearly 100,000 United States school children found that access to printed materials – and not poverty – is the “critical variable affecting reading acquisition” (McQuillan, 1998).
This spring, let’s all try our best to put a garden in the pocket of children by giving them a book and the ability to tend it through reading. As always, we are so grateful to our supporters. Please consider joining us as we work to plant gardens.
Deborah L. Valdez, Ed.D