By the National Institute for Literacy
Getting in the Game
Reading: Easy as ABC, Right?
Most kids learn to talk by talking with other people. They hear—they listen—they speak. Learning to read? That’s harder.
Reading doesn’t come naturally. You have to learn it. The sticks and circles we call letters are symbols. Basically, letters stand for sounds. In the big picture, they help us communicate when we can’t talk face to face. If we couldn’t read, we’d never know the wisdom of William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, or Yogi Berra.
Our alphabet has only 26 letters, but it’s one of the most powerful tool kits on the planet. When you put letters together, into syllables, words, sentences, and paragraphs, you get the script for Star Wars, a Martin Luther King speech, The Grapes of Wrath, a letter, or instructions for how to build a tricycle.
Reading lets us into the whole world. It gets us in the game. Reading is power. And, let’s face it, good readers make more money.
Teaching someone to read is complex. But while teachers are doing their thing in the classroom, parents can do things to make time with their children pay off in big ways.
Reading with your child every day certainly helps, whether it’s a book, a street sign, or a cereal box. But researchers have found that parents can help even more by building five skills that kids need to become readers.
How do dads help their kids to learn to read? See inside for the stories of 20 fathers.