Even though most kids hate to be reminded of it, the new school year is getting closer, and a barber in Iowa has taken a very creative head-start on inspiring children to read more.
All day long on Saturday, Courtney Holmes has been giving kids haircuts, but not for money, but in exchange of them reading him from a book during the trimming. His initiative was part of the annual Back to School Bash that’s taking place in the Comiskey Park in Dubuque for the second time around.
According to the Associated Press, Mr. Holmes is just fond of supporting and encouraging kids to read. During the event, a book give-away took place, sponsored by the St. Mark Youth Enrichment organization.
Children who struggled with reading had a bit of help in the person of Caitlin Daniels, a reading coordinator who works with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. She was very excited about the initiative, calling it a creative exchange between giving the kids a haircut for the new school year and having them “pay” through reading.
It’s always been a struggle to get children interested in reading, but the current digital era with its wide range of visual distractions has made it even more difficult for them to have the patience to spend some time with a book.
A recent research conducted by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization in San Francisco, points to the fact that the good habit of reading experiences a dramatic drop from childhood to teenage years.
From the 38 percent of children who used to read daily when they were 6-8 years-old, only 24 percent of them kept their habit through their teenage years, all the way to 15-17 years old. By comparison, 70 percent of 13-year-olds were avid readers 30 years ago, according to a 1984 study. The percentage has gone down over the years with a stunning 53 percent.
Thus, programs and campaigns are being organized by parents, teachers and communities, in an attempt to make reading interesting for children again. Back in June, for example, the hospitals and the health clinics in the area of Sacramento have set up reading stations for children that are also spots where people can donate books to encourage reading.
But more than community-based initiatives, research shows that the most important role in a child’s reading interest is played by their parents. A reference study showed that by the age of 3, children of professionals already have a vocabulary of 1,116 words. By contrast, children of the same age but raised in families from the working class only boasted 749 words.
But more than anything else, reading together – with your parents or anyone else – has a powerful effect on kids. So whether you love snuggling together under the covers with a good book or you’re fond of travelling with a good read, always be prepared to offer a positive example in motivating your child to read.
Image Source: New Pittsburgh Courier