Studies show kids who grow up with books in their homes have a major advantage over children who do not. This is because books lay a foundation for a child’s future.
Fox 4 is owned by E.W. Scripps, and every year for “National Reading Day,” our company’s charitable organization, the Scripps Howard Foundation, commits to raising money to put books in the hands of kids in need through our "If you give a child a book..." Campaign.
“National Reading Day” is in January, but Fox 4 is raising money now to make sure these kids get the books they need and deserve.
Second grade teacher Brie Babyak said there’s nothing like the magic of teaching kids to read for the first time. Once they learn to read, she said it gives them confidence, and makes them want to continue reading every day. This is a skill she said they need to build a better future.
“If they don't like to read at a young age, they're not going to be as successful as they go through the school process. If they're not very proficient readers, that makes it very difficult for them to feel successful and be successful. Not that they can't be, because they're wonderful kids, and they can all learn and grow, but fostering that love for reading is one of teachers’ number one jobs,” Ms. Babyak said.
Dr. Elizabeth Elliott is a professor of Early Childhood at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“Reading is a skill that children will need for the rest of their lives, and also is the single most predictor of future success, is the ability to read,” Dr. Elliott said.
She’s done extensive work on this very subject, and said the standard saying is true: reading is fundamental.
“Literacy and being literate is the number one skill for people to be successful. Think about it, the world is a print rich environment. If you look at the sign on your desk, or the back of my desk, or our own name, and recognizing that. That is what our whole society and world is about, is the ability to read,” Dr. Elliott said.
Tallica Tidwell, a preschool teacher for 8 years, said literacy isn’t the only crucial skill that comes from reading.
“Books are an easy way to capture their attention. Let's just say Jimmy wants to learn about dinosaurs. There are so many books about dinosaurs that are going to extend the learning for them,” she said.
Tidwell is now an Early Literacy Advisor at the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, which aims to increase the availability of quality learning in the area.
It’s CEO, Susan Block, said young kids who’ve been read to, and have heard a lot of words in their earliest years, are more likely to be on par with their peers at a third grade reading level — a big indicator of high school graduation.
“And we know all paths start from a high school degree. Whether you're going into the military, technical school, you're going to go to college, or you're going to the workforce — being literate, being able to read and write, speak and listen, all starts when we’re very very young,” she said.
It’s a skill Dr. Elliott said every child should have access to.
“Hopefully we can instill the love of reading to all children. And I think your program of putting a book in their hands is an incredible opportunity for anyone,” she said.
If you’d like to donate, click here. All donations will help kids in Southwest Florida.