(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)
At LEAP Foundation DC, we believe that knowledge is the key to success. While a huge part of that involves developing an appreciation and respect for educational systems and educators, a big part of learning begins in the home. Encouraging children and teens to pick up a book each day not only develops reading skills that will last a lifetime, but it provides endless benefits for overall wellness. But according to Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, 61 percent of low-income children in the country do not have access to books in the home, a problem that can have detrimental effects through adulthood.
As you try to find the perfect present this Christmas for that special young person on your list, consider the gift of reading. The benefits are endless and can last a lifetime. Here are a few reasons to add a book (or two) to your gift-giving this season.
Expands the vocabulary of young readers
Teaches something new
Develops social skills
Improves writing skills
Aids in positive mental health
Improves focus and concentration
Is a free form of entertainment
Can provide a positive escape
Develops the imagination
Opens doors to other areas of the world
Inspires meaningful conversations
Leads to a greater activation of multi-sensory stimulation