Reading for Success
An important part of what I do as a children's book author is participating in Community Engagement events that support literacy for young readers. I love to attend book fairs, especially those that focus on boosting reading skills, encouraging family reading adventures, and the importance of parent/child storytime. Resources are available to children and parents via public schools, local libraries, reading and literacy groups, non-profits, and police departments.
According to www.thinkimpact.com, 79% of adults in the United States are literate, which means that 21% are illiterate, and 54% of adults have literacy levels below the 6th grade. In 2018, the Digest of Educations Statistics reported that reading scores for most children in 4th and 8th grade were measurably higher in 2017 than they were in 1992, though not measurably higher than they were in 2015. While performance gaps between Black and Hispanic children compared to their white counterparts have decreased significantly between 1992 and 2017, a gap still remains. As of 2013, nearly 66% of all 4th graders in the U.S. were reading below proficiency levels.
Reading to children before they reach kindergarten is extremely important in the quest for literacy. Children who are read to daily, are more prepared for education in a school setting. Reading to them also helps to build confidence and self-esteem, gives them an understanding of emotions and concepts, and is just plain fun. Attending reading and book events are great a great way to support literacy and educational programs. I have had the pleasure of working with organizations like Family Literacy of Georgia, Dekalb County Public Library, the Jonesboro Police Department, Clayton County Public Schools, and other metro Atlanta public and private schools. in Georgia. I've also traveled to participate in book readings/signings within and outside of the metro Atlanta area including Rockford Public Schools(my hometown in Illinois), and even Nassau Bahamas. Participating in these events also gives me the opportunity to meet other children's book authors. We share our journeys, hopes, and ideas. Promoting our books at these events is important, but what is paramount is everyone's desire for children, especially young Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) readers to go home with books in their hands that include characters that look like them and get them excited about reading.