We all know that reading is beneficial. We are told to start our children young and encourage a love of reading to last them through adulthood. A task easier said than done in a society that pushes video games, social media, and television as superior forms of entertainment.
So, how important is getting your kids to read:
That’s because research shows that if children aren’t reading proficiently by third grade, they’re four times more likely to drop out of high school. “We’ve known for quite some time in education that there’s an incredibly strong link between oral language development and future reading abilities” — no matter what language kids speak, says Alan Cohen.
Developing a love of reading will help your child in their academic success. It increases vocabulary, writing skills, empathy, comprehension, and imagination! Though sometimes it isn’t as simple as handing a kid a book. People like to read books that they can relate to. And even in diverse classrooms, we are missing diverse texts. Just as representation is important on the screen, it is also important in print. Perhaps your child will want to read more if the characters look like them and share their experiences.
A teacher who worked in LA with Latino students found that to be true:
My students could definitely connect with the text. Many of them were in some way affected by gang warfare in their neighborhood. Some even had family members or friends who had been killed in gunfights or incarcerated. Finally something they could relate to. Class discussions suddenly became vibrant and empowering. Students would read well ahead of the assigned chapters. Some shared the book with siblings and friends. Others bought their own copy to keep once we moved on to other readings.
Check out these lists of children’s book with main characters of color:
- Common Sense Media: Book With Characters of Color
- NPR: A Diverse #SummerReading List for Kids
- Huffington Post: 21 Children’s Books Every Black Kid Should Read