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For the young readers in your holiday heart

P.D. Brown greets a young reader at the official launch party and book-signing party for “I am a Natural
Cutie” on Nov. 26. (Courtesy photo)

by Phyllis Dixon, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Giving a child a book provides a gift to be enjoyed now and helps develop an essential life skill – reading proficiency. The National Education Association has found that “reading proficiency is associated with higher test scores, and later, with higher-paying jobs, greater career growth, and higher rates of civic engagement (i.e. voting.)”

A book may not be as loud as the TV, or as animated as a video game, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Award winning author Jason Reynolds says he hated to read when he was growing up and his prime goal as an author is to create books that are not boring.

Dismal statistics abound about poor levels of reading proficiency in so-called urban schools. Among the causes is peer pressure. As our children leave elementary school, it becomes increasingly “uncool” to be smart. Encouraging independent reading can help reverse this trend.

With that in mind, use the holiday as another opportunity to encourage the young people in your life to read.

Here are a few engaging stories that promote positive self-images:

Seasonal tips for book giving

* Kids outgrow books. Donate gently-used books to a shelter or crisis center. St. Andrew AME Church (867 South Parkway East) has a library.

* Give your child a library card, if they don’t have one.

* Purchase a gift certificate to a bookstore and let them pick the book.

* Subscribe to a magazine they’ll be interested in.

* These books are available at local bookstores or online.

* Remember – if you encourage reading, you are giving a gift that lasts a lifetime.

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