This Pandemic Has Kids Reading Less

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 584 million children worldwide are experiencing reading difficulties, compared to 460 million a year earlier, resulting in a rise of more than 20%, wiping out 2 decades of educational gains.

The Stanford Graduate School of Education released a study reporting that second and third graders reading fluency is now 30% behind what would be expected in a typical year. Reading fluency is fundamental for academic development more broadly because problems with this skill may interfere with a students’ ability to learn additional other subjects as they make their way into later grades.

Now, more than anytime in the last several decades, we have got to get our kids into reading books. If you live in a middle- or upper-class neighborhood, doing this is much easier than if you live in a neighborhood with a limited supply of books.

Lucky for us there are organizations that are beginning to address this disparity. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is inspiring reading by gifting free of charge books to children from birth to age five. She has registered close to 2 million kids and has gifted over 175 million books.

I was fortunate to meet an organization, Kids Need to Read, based in Mesa, Arizona that provides children’s’ books for disadvantage children to underfunded schools, libraries and organizations across the country. This nonprofit organization provides inspiring book collections in many underserved communities. I urge everyone who reads this to go to their site and donate to support their passionate mission. I urge any children’s authors who see this to donate at least 6 of their children’s books to their cause to help immerse these kids in the wonders of reading.

Children who are taught to read at home by their parents and grandparents, will begin to develop the reading skills and fluency they will need to tackle bigger and tougher subjects as they grow older. We need to be the role model they emulate by spending more time reading with them. And for the kids less fortunate than ours, we need to support and donate to Kids Need to Read.

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