When I was 10, I believed that had I been born in the United States of America at that time, I most definitely would have been friends with Elizabeth Wakefield. I’m sure you remember Elizabeth. She was Jessica Wakefield’s identical twin sister, with blue-green eyes and straight, blonde hair. She was Steven Wakefield’s younger sister and the brainy, responsible daughter to Ned and Alice Wakefield, who resided in the suburbs of Sweet Valley. I loved everything about Elizabeth. How she handled things. The fact that she had a long term boyfriend, Todd, and more so, she wrote for Sweet Valley High’s editorial. How could we not have been friends?
It’s amazing how such small things stick with you to adult life. If you sit quietly and think about it, there is always that one story you read as a child that resonated with you so profoundly that you’ve carried it with you subconsciously till today. Hanging out with Moses at the Mukibi Institute of the Sons of African Gentlemen as he was having trouble with Mildred or the joy of having Nancy Drew meet up with the Hardy boys in some action packed, super tag team mystery solving was always something we lived for in our younger days.
There is a great benefit to ensuring that children read from an early age. One of the most profound papers I have ever read on the benefits of reading explains how, when accumulated over time—spiraling either upward or downward—reading carries profound implications for the development of a wide range of cognitive capabilities (1)
Research also shows that the words used in children’s books are considerably rarer than those in the speech on prime time adult television and greater than that in all of the adult conversation, except for court room testimony (2) (because I mean, lawyers, right?)
Importance of ensuring equitable access to recreational literacy material is paramount to future capacity building and more so to investing in all rounded universal primary education, which happens to be the 4th Sustainable Development Goal. This is a long term investment in community. The books we read mould the things we say, how we say them and in what manner we intend them to be understood. Books are an articulation of our disposition, a part of who we are, subconsciously.
Join them as they establish more mobile libraries for children who are excited at the prospect of receiving stories to dive into. Donate your old recreational readers or sponsor a book or even your time as we spread the joy of reading to these young souls. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/libraryinabox or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have the conversation with you.
,  - Journal of Direct Instruction, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 137–149. Reprinted with permission from The American Federation of Teachers. American Educator, Vol. 22, No. 1–2, pp. 8–15. Address correspondence to Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich
Note: This a guest post by Murugi Kagotho – a genius who, on occasion, allows me to post her thoughts.