The Amazing Flight of Little Ray displayed at 50% of viewport width
April 2018 by V. R. Duin


And when Little Ray heard their words,
He came to his senses and thought about birds.
Under their feathers, they had to have skin.
If so, Little Ray's fight was about to begin!
(“The Amazing Flight of Little Ray”)

Pay reading forward to help children achieve success at school through early childhood education, development and learning.

Cincinnati Children's Reading and Literacy Discovery Center gives insights into the power of picture books. Their 2018 study of 27 children of about age four confirms visuals greatly aid early development and learning.

A speaking voice alone is not captivating for children. Viewing animated stories on screens offers no time for children to think. Reading aloud with pictures engages thought. It builds imagination and concentration skills.

Early reading develops creative thought and power. Picture books are important for the first five years of a child's early childhood education. Text and pictures merge to stimulate attention, memory and focus.

Child readers are given an advantage with literacy skills. The closeness that develops during readings with a child is warm and reassuring. Children gain a better grasp of material with guidance from trusted adults.

Environment impacts education. Traditional, virtual and one-on-one tutoring conditions provide a variety of teaching models. A system of checks and balances comes with the comfort and freedom of questions in the home.

Children are attuned to distraction and disinterest. Attention to digital devices discourages interaction. Frustrations of work, school and screen time are contagious. Reading is a personalized, authentic and divergent escape.

Few children from disadvantaged backgrounds receive individual preparation. A reading history enhances the ability to analyze and comprehend written content. A culture of persistent learning starts at home.

Advantaged children often begin school with strong foundations. Networks and interactions in upper echelons teach awareness of the extent to which books mold character, advance knowledge and increase income.

Non-readers fall behind in school and become discouraged. These students have high truancy and drop-out rates. They connect with peers and further distance themselves from positive associations with book learning.

The U.S. Department of Education presents statistics about literacy and crime. NCES surveys of literacy behind bars reveal 60 percent of prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of juvenile offenders have reading problems.

Readers, writers and educators should be alert for independent opportunities. Materials may be found online and in the community to flesh out knowledge. Only half of children in the United States read at grade level.

Reading for pleasure and enlightenment may remain in adulthood. Reading meets accelerating change with independent study for development of new skills. Reading mentors may raise reading rates for generations.

Home reading programs add non-punitive consistency to reading practice and enrichment. Books for story time cultivate culture, establish expectations and facilitate future studies of math, science and technology.

Students welcome stimulation outside the standard curriculum. They like the suspense of problem-solving as they read. Exposure to exciting and original ideas and concepts inspires them to see, hear, discuss and learn.

Schools with low parental involvement have low achievement rates. Reading exposes children to the outside world and expands vocabularies. It gives them practice with extracting useful information from texts.

Parental efforts to raise reading rates are building. Average grade school students should read stories at 125 words per minute. For average students in junior and high school that rate should be 200-250 words per minute.

There is a one-size-per-age control on reading in schools. Parents know their children better than the bureaucracy does. Parents make informed choices about their children's health, diet, lifestyle and religion.

Education puts limits on parental participation in school activities or operations. Children may not be allowed to read outside their age level. Standards may be lowered. School choice is discouraged in remote areas.

Students must receive the individual attention they deserve. Students often are bored and under-challenged by the system of repetitive routines and narrow subjects. Students may require other types of preparation.

Learning no longer may be happening. Conduct deteriorates when material seems irrelevant. Common sense recognizes that differences in learning styles and abilities cannot be served by a one-size-fits-all approach.

Home-schooling is on the rise. Parents are instilling heritage, refinement, ethics and knowledge in their children within the safety of home. Online connections help stimulate ideas, discussions and activities for growth.

Parents can foster wellbeing without pulling their children from school. They can encourage critical thinking and discuss global threats in a positive way. They can guide their children to bravery from the real-world fears.

There are many benefits to joint learning with adults. Close-up inspection and interesting discussion help to connect storied action and characters with real-life observations. Time management and interpersonal skills are fostered.

Developing minds benefit from focus and stimulus. Employers place premiums on the soft skills of social grace, communication strength and emotional intelligence. These get early starts with cozy childhood reads.

School children resist conformity. They are inattentive when forced to study subjects they find no need to know. An inquiring mind must be intrinsically motivated to build marketable technical and professional skills.

Reading helps spelling, writing and thinking. The magic of performing aloud with a child combines warmth, sight and sound. Once children determine books are fun and interesting, they create reading and study habits.

Passions are central to career quests. Early development and learning start at home. Talents and interests are identified, setting the stage for sophisticated skills, dynamic achievements and improved life opportunities.

Basic literacy is a life skill. Books enrich language exposure and strengthen school readiness. Reluctant readers may be led by interesting and far-out subjects to plan and prepare for challenging lifetime pursuits.

Real world connections are needed for real-world advancement. While glued to electronic devices, children disconnect from the learning process. Distance diminishes collaborative attention and reduces participation.

Reading provides information, insights and viewpoints. Determined effort and study improve reasoning and management of new situations. Positive reinforcement aids in the push for intelligence and judgment.

Attention to fast-moving screens is shallow and reactive. Too much is happening to allow for deep thinking. Reading facilitates pause for thought. Reading develops the mental faculties needed to process information.

Each child deserves an early start and a wide variety of materials to examine. Exposure to interesting words and content helps pave the way for success. Reading improves when children are shown the pleasure in it.

Readers of this article recognize that reading matters. An interest in arts and sciences likely came from an adult. Reading aloud to children teaches an appreciation of books. Let's work together to pay reading forward.