As a parent, giving my child all the keys to finding and unlocking his success is one of my most important and significant roles. Behind feeding, sheltering, caring, and providing for them, in my opinion, helping them learn to read is the next most important tool I can offer. Just this year, several new reports have been released highlighting the importance of reading, including a report with the following quote by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Reading proficiency by third grade is the most significant predictor of high school graduation and career success, yet two-thirds of U.S. third-graders lack competent reading skills.” - American Academy of Pediatrics
According to StORytime Oregon - a new initiative to improve reading levels in the state - 33 percent of children entering kindergarten can name five or few letters and 14 percent couldn’t name a single letter. Furthermore, 32 percent of Oregon third graders are not reading on track at a third grade level. Statistics that highlight the increased need across the state and makes me even more diligent in helping where I can. While the initiative is a statewide collaborative effort, StORytime Oregon is focused on five communities where the need is greatest.
Parents and early age caregivers are critical instructors in providing children with the building blocks to develop reading and critical thinking skills. Those involved with their children early on “provide positive influences on reading achievement, language comprehension, and language skills,” according to StORytime. Those skills develop as they grow, providing children with the necessary tools to enter third grade confident and prepared for life-long success.
As noted by StORytime Oregon:
- Students who are not proficient readers at 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.
- Children from professional families have heard 30 million more words by the time they are three years old than those from families in poverty.
- Eighty-five to ninety percent of poor readers receiving intervention before third grade can increase reading skills to average levels; 75% of those receiving intervention after nine years old will continue to have difficulties throughout their life.
Initiatives like StORytime Oregon are working to dramatically increase the reading levels for students statewide and boost access to books for parents and kids. The program launched with an initial investment from the Oregon State Legislature, but resources are in high demand, meaning the need for additional books continues. StORytime Oregon has partnered with Umpqua Bank who has pledged to match up to $100,000 dollars with the goal of placing over 80,000 books in the hands of kids throughout Oregon. The books will go to elementary schools but more so be available for parents, kids, educators, libraries, and will become critical resources for children to use to begin a life-long love of reading. With each donation you make here, Umpqua will match dollar for dollar creating a community that’s stronger for all of us the future.
“This is an important endeavor, one that requires each of us to step forward. I encourage all Oregonians to join with Umpqua to help us make books - and the joy of reading - available to all of Oregon’s kids. Children are the future of our state. And we as Oregonians - and Umpqua as a community bank - have an obligation to do all we can to make that future bright.” - Ray Davis, CEO of Umpqua Bank
As a first time parent there are so many things to learn as you go. I’ve known the importance of reading throughout my life, but was so surprised to see statistics that show the importance of starting the love of reading and books from almost day one. Whether it’s a story before bedtime, a daily board book at lunch, or anywhere in between, giving your children the opportunity to be read to and begin the foundation is a cause worth supporting. If you choose to donate, 100 percent of your donation will be used to purchase books for students at the elementary school of your choice throughout the state. Join us in supporting this cause and building a foundation for all our children.
This post is a partnership between Dads Who Diaper and Umpqua Bank in support of StORytime Oregon.