Reading is important for everyone—young and old alike. Yet 25% of Americans have not read a book in the past year and are very likely to pass on that trait to their children. Not good, especially when you consider how many fantastic skills come from reading regularly.
If you want your child to grow up to be empowered, logical, and empathetic, you want to spend time reading to and with them. There’s so much evidence of why it’s important, but here are the basics.
- a strong, nurturing relationship with you that will bring both of you closer together.
- an interest in and love of learning.
- speech, communication, and (of course!) reading skills.
- a broader vocabulary and understanding of the intricacies of language.
- logical, creative, and critical thinking skills.
- an interest in and openness to new experiences.
- longer attention spans and concentration.
- better memory retention.
- a love of reading.
Excellent reasons for encouraging your kids to read, right? And the great thing is that there are many resources available to you to help make that effort so much easier: libraries, reading incentives and school programs, and free websites dedicated to making reading exciting and accessible. Today we’ll focus on three reading programs that come from the military community.
Provided through the USO, this program offers deployed service members the opportunity to read their children books on DVDs. A copy of the DVD as well as a copy of the book is mailed to the child at no cost to the family. There are many locations around the globe where filming can take place including military hospitals, airport USO centers, and CONUS and OCONUS bases.
Created and supported by Blue Star Families, Books on Bases’ partners donate books to “military children, base libraries, Department of Defense schools, and military-impacted public schools and libraries.” They also host literacy events throughout the year including summer reading programs and back-to-school events.
Tell Me a Story is a reading program that empowers military children with discussion and engaging books to help foster resiliency and optimism. Much like a book club, TMAS focuses on a particular chosen book and asks participants to talk about it with guided prompts.
If you’re interested in other local events, check out your community and base’s library. Many offer programs for children and adults. These national programs are all available for free at many locations around the world. You’ll want to check their individual websites for specific information pertaining to your child’s age and your location. But no matter what programs and resources you use, make sure that you are making time daily to read with your child. It is never wasted time.
Jo is the author of Jo, My Gosh! a blog about her journey as a newlywed military wife. When she’s not working from home, she’s writing, reading, trying new recipes, watching sports or cross stitching. Catch her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and say hi!