What Sacrifice is Too Great? What Investment is Too Small?

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To sacrifice is to give up forever something we would prefer to keep. Sacrifices are made to obtain something of  value, a personally irreplaceable loss of time, opportunity or possessions, given up usually forSacrifice 1 others.

All families make sacrifices to get what they want for their children. After all, what sacrifice is too great to make to markedly increase the likelihood that kids will succeed in school and life? What sacrifice is too small, for families NOT to make, to increase the likelihood that their little ones will succeed in school and life?

One sacrifice families can easily make that will have lasting benefits for their children is that of time…just a bit every day to read and talk with their children about what they read.

The research is pretty clear. Books that are abundant and readily available to the children in the home are one of the clearest predictors of school success, promotion and graduation. Reading those books and discussing one or more of them with children every day is a sure way to prime kids to seek out, and respond eagerly to, instruction that children believe will help them in learning more about print, books and the enjoyment of reading—the gateway to lifelong learning.

Sacrifice 2Given this evidence, why is time for reading such a hard sacrifice to make? Why don’t families engage more with their public library to help make this happen?

Here are just a few, largely solvable, problems that keep this from happening for all children:

Many families don’t understand specifically why or how books in their homes and lap-reading  from birth through schooling are so important to ongoing school success.

Many families also struggle with keeping up with the basics of life (e.g., keeping their families safe, fed healthy) to also worry about reading.

Where library patronage is concerned, many families don’t have a library card and don’t know how to get one. They fear the specter of possible late fines, and they can’t afford to buy new books.

Many parents and care givers don’t know how to read with their children and worry they won’t do it right.

Sacrifice 3They are wary about the act of reading with appropriate emotion and inflection. They think there’s a formula magic to discussing books.

Educators and librarians, families need to know we’re her to help! We need to help them learn how to findfree books online or in a lending library. We need to help them understand that spending book time with their children is not a waste of time; it’s an investment of time.

Only when we help clarify and address these issues with families will they be positioned to sacrifice a little time to being a book scout and to dedicating 15 to 30 minutes each day, as oral readers.

Many families would be willing to sacrifice for their children, but aren’t aware that a little thing they need to give up that has big outcomes is a little time. We can show them it can be done. Then the sacrifice becomes an investment every family can make.

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