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Reading Solution

After two years of interruptions, reading is popping up all over the place

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After two years of educational interruptions, our children need all the encouragement we can offer them to make reading a cherished and enjoyable experience. Our teachers are working feverishly (pun intended) to make up for lost time. They can’t do this job alone. Each of us plays a part in surrounding every child with community support.

Reading role models and a large book collection at home have greater impact on children’s reading frequency than does household income. If you don’t have children at home, you can still contribute in your own way. Take a book with you to read in public. By reading for pleasure while sitting in waiting rooms and standing on long lines you become a subtle inspiration for children who wonder what grownups do for fun. Businesses with child size reading corners promote the message that reading is an expected part of community life.

At CRA, each of our programs is designed to promote lifelong learning, foster love of reading through book ownership, advance literacy and academic performance by Increasing successful reading experiences through self-selected, voluntary reading and rich family conversations.

A report from the National Institute of Education (1988) concluded that, “…the amount of reading done outside of school is consistently related to gains in reading achievement.” In studies of children’s reading development, McGill-Franzen and Allington (2003), cite the importance of extensive, successful reading experiences in the development of reading proficiency. “If children have the opportunity to listen to, discuss and read books on topics that they select, they will develop extensive background information which can serve as a platform from which to engage in their own independent reading.” According to Cunningham and Stanovich (1998), “Children who enjoy reading will read more and become proficient at the same time.” 

CRA is introducing Pop-Up Book Fairs, a new approach, to join our current lineup of Reading Buddies who mentor struggling beginning readers, First Teacher/Primer Maestrotm classes for parents and Talking Stories/Cuentos que hablan storytelling and discussion groups. Pop-Up Book Fairs help families to build home libraries. Together with partners from local businesses and organizations pop-ups will bring books to children where they are. Look for pop-ups around schools, daycare centers and at community events around town. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, children are entitled to choose a free book every time they attend.

Pop-Up Book Fairs are already scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 4 at East Picacho Elementary, 4450 N. Valley Dr., and the Walking and Growing with my Child - Parent and Family Summit sponsored by Raices del Saber Community School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 23 at Las Cruces Church of Christ, 2025 N. Valley.

If your organization or business would like to host a Pop-Up Book Fair, we would love to hear from you. Our pop-up events can be as simple as a display of books to choose from or modified into Book Parties with storytellers and literacy activities.

The winter schedule of First Teacher parenting classes is underway in both virtual and in person formats. Each First Teacher/Primer Maestro six-week course serves parents of 3- through 5-year-olds with foundational experiences that prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

First Teacher/Primer Maestro virtual classes are underway in Anthony and in Chaparral. In person classes in Las Cruces will begin in March and April at Raices Del Saber Community School, various Las Cruces schools and in Hatch.

You can support children and their families by partnering with us to provide appropriate children’s literature to these most vulnerable readers at a critical time in their reading development. For information, to volunteer, or register for classes call (575) 522-3713 or email jalvarado@childrensreadingalliance.org. To donate and learn more about the work of the Children’s Reading Alliance, visit our website www.childrensreadingalliance.org.

Rorie Measure is president emeritus of Children's Reading Alliance, a grassroots initiative to encourage family literacy throughout Doña Ana County. She is a reader, writer, teacher, reading specialist and literacy trainer who can be reached at rmeasure@gmail.com.