A good combination

Published 10:06 pm Thursday, March 9, 2017

Food, shelter, safety and clothing are the basics, of course, but once those things are accounted for, there is almost nothing more important a parent can do for his child than to instill a love of reading early in life.

The stakes are higher than you might think. According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, one out of six children who do not read at their age level by the end of third grade will not graduate from high school.

And here’s another shocking couple of statistics from the U.S. Department of Education: “Among those who reach adulthood with the lowest level of literacy proficiency, 43 percent live in poverty. Among those who have strong literacy skills, only 4 percent live in poverty.”

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Reading matters, and it starts at home.

Parents who read to their young children are far more likely to have those children enter school ready to read and interested in doing so. And those children are far more likely to read at or above their age level throughout their school years.

Parents who model reading for their kids and who encourage the presence of books in the home do those children a great service.

Having books in the home, according to the foundation, has been proven to improve children’s reading performance, cause them to read more and for longer, and encourage better attitudes toward reading and learning.

Clearly, just about anything one can do to get children to read is worth doing.

That’s why we love it when Suffolk teachers come up with unusual new ideas to promote reading among their students.

The faculty at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School had a great idea this week, mixing kids’ love of camping with an event in which they promoted reading. The “Camp Read-A-Lot” event on Tuesday gave parents a chance to read with their children in the unusual environment of the school gymnasium, which had been decked out as a campground, complete with small tents, sleeping bags and the recorded sounds of campfires and crickets.

And, of course, s’mores.

Camping, tasty snacks and a good book. Now that’s a combination for a lifetime of enjoyment.