Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stop and Give Me 20!

 Can You Spare 20 minutes?  Sounds silly, right? I mean we all have an extra 20 minutes in our day when we think about it. The St. Charles City-County Library Foundation recently launched the TAKE 20 and READ campaign for literacy. The program focuses on the importance of early literacy and helping families build critical literacy skills for children to succeed in school and for adults to continue reading and lifelong learning.

Why 20 minutes? Reading to a child is the easiest and best way to help that child succeed in school and later in life. I grew up immersed in language and literacy. We read with each and to each other. We talked about books, discussed characters and themes. My husband and I have raised our children the same way.

Let’s just think about this mathematically. Let’s pretend we read just 20 minutes a day.

20 minutes x 30 days = 600 minutes or 10 hours per month

10 hours x 12 months = 120 hours per year

120 hours x 5 years = 600 hours over 5 years

That would mean that our children started kindergarten with over 600 hours of knowledge building, engaged learning time BEFORE they ever set foot in the classroom. The power of 20 minutes a day!

But what happens when children and adults don’t get those same opportunities? 

Sadly, currently 35 percent of children arrive at kindergarten unprepared to learn. Most reading problems are not outgrown which means students who are struggling readers in the early grades will continue to struggle as adults without proper intervention. Reading effectively as an adult directly impacts opportunities in all aspects of life, including education and job preparedness but also self-esteem and quality of life. But with just 20 minutes a day, we will see a change in fundamental language and literacy skills. 

The St. Charles City-County Library Foundation is challenging everyone in St. Charles County to Take 20 and Read! I hope you will accept the challenge to read at least 20 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what you read, just read! 

Our family took the pledge. I hope you will stop and give me 20 for yourself, your children or grandchildren, and for your greater community. If you complete the program you will also be eligible to win a mini iPad! To register, visit http://www.take20andread.org/ or www.stchlibraryfoundation.org

Photo Credit: St. Charles City-County Library Foundation 

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