■ BY SUE ERWIN
Research has shown that reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning.
Candace Kendle, co-founder of ReadAloud.org, held an informational presentation at the Boca Grande Community Center at Tuesday, Nov. 19.
The entire community was invited to come and learn about a national campaign to read aloud for 15 minutes every day for 21 days.
“As a scientist, I have learned that recent research tells us that by age 3, the gap is showing up in early brain development between children whose parents read to them and those who do not,” Kendle said. “Reading shouldn’t be a silent task, it should be engaging and animated. Children learn words through interaction. Reading is seeing, hearing, touching and feeling.”
In the past, Kendle has worked with several organizations to help young girls gain an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.
“The most important factor with STEM is reading,” she said. “If you cannot read, you cannot solve problems. If you cannot read by the time you are in fourth grade, you really will face enormous issues in life.”
Statistics show that 37 percent of children in America are not ready to learn to read when they start Kindergarten.
“This is really a national crisis,” Kendle said.
The scientist recently spent time at the Boca Grande Child Care Center and Preschool, reading to the children. She was delighted to see how excited they were about books and learning.
“They were all so eager and willing to learn; it was so inspirational.”
The presentation at the Community Center included photographs proving scientifically that using excessive technology “deadens” brain cells.
One slide compared two MRI images showing areas of the brain with more area that was darker than the other, indicative of someone who used technology 12 or more hours per day
Guests were treated to a complimentary dinner after the presentation. Two food trucks and an ice cream truck were set up outside the Community Center.
Kendle establshed the foundation in 2008 along with Bob Robbins and Jennifer Bryan, and it became a 501(c)3 organization in 2010.
If you’d like to spread awareness about this important matter, sign up at https://readaloud.org/21daychallenge.html and accept the challenge by posting a photo or video of you reading along with your child on social media. Continue to read aloud for at least 15 minutes for 21 days in a row, then pass the challenge along to family members and friends.
“Last year we reached 40 million kids across the country in the 21-day challenge,” Kendle said. “And I have faith that we will reach even more this year.”
For more information, visit ReadAloud.org.