Help build strong readers | GUEST OPINION

Literacy — the ability to read and write — is the most important skill a child can develop. Without the ability to effectively use these skills a child will always be limited in their growth. Recent studies have shown that a child reading at standard by third grade has a better opportunity to graduate high school ready for college, or career ready, than those who do not. Students not reading at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out before graduating.  So what does this tell us? It tells us that we must provide our children every opportunity in learning to read.

Where does the responsibility for a child’s education ultimately begin? Who is responsible for providing a child the educational skills necessary to become a productive citizen in our society? The answers to these questions are quite simple; each and every one of us is responsible. From the time a child is born until they graduate either from a high school, a vocational college or a college of higher learning, each of us has an opportunity to influence their success.

The school board has focused Marysville’s improvement efforts on just a few long range goals that we call Steps to Success.  Insuring reading success in grades K-3 for every student — 100 percent — is an essential building block for every child’s future.

One of the most opportune times to effect learning in a child’s life begins with birth to kindergarten. Recent research studies have shown that early childhood learning provides a child with the tools necessary to succeed in a school environment.

Taking the time to read a book, practicing the ABCs, teaching upper and lower case letters, practicing the sounds that each letter makes, singing songs and teaching rhymes are just a few examples of how you can share quality and meaningful time with a child.

The United Way of Snohomish County has dedicated funding through Marysville Kids Matter to support literacy for preschool students.  Through a partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, children aged 0-5 years of age living within the 98270 and 98271 zip codes can qualify for a free book each month.

Parents of preschool children, please contact your local school to sign up now for this great gift of reading.  Each month you and your child can look forward to receiving an exciting new book.  And each book comes with tips for building your child’s interest in reading.  For those that would like to help sponsor a child in this worthy challenge or just donate funds to support this program, please contact the United Way of Snohomish County.

If your child has already started school, support them in becoming great readers. Let them know how important reading is.  Make a reading spot for your child. Sign them up for a library card and keep plenty of interesting books on hand. Reading with your child, listening to them read or discussing what they are reading helps share the joy of reading.  You will be providing your child with the social and emotional skills to interact with other children and adults — a powerful foundation for life.Teaching them the skill of how to listen and communicate with others in a respectful manner will build their self confidence and will allow them to share their feelings and needs when needed.

Together we can make a difference for each and every child.

Chris Nation is the Marysville School District Board President and can be reached via email at chris_nation@msvl.k12.wa.us or by calling 360-653-0800.


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