Reading - a free activity
During wartime, every aspect of the economy suffers. We receive press releases everyday from Atlanta announcing budget cuts here, budget cuts there. We receive word of the cuts reaching the local level and taking its toll on activities, supplies and salaries.
This month marks the third anniversary for Ferst Books, an organization here in Madison that sends books to any child who’s parents register them. The number of children served in Morgan County has almost tripled over the past three years. Today, they serve 2,500 children who span several counties. More than likely, they are feeling the effects of strained budgets.
The Morgan County Library cannot purchase new books or other forms of media because of budget cuts to libraries across Georgia. Miriam Baker, library manager, expressed concern over funding for summer programs.
The school system is facing the crunch as well. Dr. Patricia Stokes, Morgan County School Superintendent, wrote in a column last week, "We also receive some grant dollars, but many of those resources have been cut during the slow economy, as well. We do not anticipate having as much of those funds to use as we have in the past." Without these grant dollars, and in addition to budget cuts, Morgan County’s school libraries will suffer as well.
Every week I spend time in the library at Morgan County Primary School mentoring. We read at least one or two books–she reads to me, and I read to her. She checks out books, and her mother reads with her, she said. Reading not only increases the child’s learning abilities, but it also teaches them confidence. The earlier a child is read to, the better. And as they learn to read, practicing these skills with them is vital to their education
and growth as a person.
Parents, read with your children. Even if they are too young to understand the story, sit them in your lap each day and "show" them a book. Point to the horse and say "horse." Point to the mother and say "mommy." As they get older, let them read to you. Don’t rush them and make them sound out the words before you correct them.
Read to them each night and don’t use the reading time as a punishment. Snuggle on the couch. Turn off the television and the computer. Let the answering machine get the phone.
Ask your children questions. Engaging in dialogue helps them in their reading speed.
Take your child to the local library. If they are under five, register them at Ferst Books by calling 343-0177. Ask your child what day they visit the school library and encourage them to enjoy reading.
If my experience at the primary school is any indication, you will enjoy it as much as your child does.