Folding Literacy into Everyday Life

Your child’s mind is like a sponge, soaking up everything around them. From sensory experiences to social and emotional cues – even the creative words adults let slip from time to time.

That’s why it’s important to model a love of reading and learning from an early age. They pick up on that enthusiasm, and it not only brings us closer together, it also encourages curiosity and literacy skills that drive development and achievement.

 

But not every family has the same opportunity to share these bonding experiences. Thanks to busy schedules, institutional challenges, and the sheer exhaustion of supporting a family, prioritizing reading often just doesn’t happen. These all-too-common obstacles are why librarians and nonprofits are teaming up to bring books and story hours to laundromats.

Bridging the opportunity gap

 

laundromats

Families who frequent the neighborhood laundromat as part of their weekly routine are often busy, lower-income, working families. When the little free time mom and dad have is taken up by time-consuming chores, there’s little bandwidth left for library visits.

Which is why the library comes to them. Introducing books into these everyday spaces gives kids something to look forward to – something to occupy their developing minds and spark the curiosity that empowers them to dream and achieve great things.

Literacy at the laundromat is a great example of the small changes we can make in kids’ daily routines to close the opportunity gap.

Our most recent data shows that more than 60% of low-income families have no children’s books in their homes. Access to these resources can make a huge dent in the 30-million-word disparity between children from opposite ends of the economic spectrum.

In these communities where every book makes a difference, the World Literacy Foundation supplies books and pop-up libraries through initiatives like Michigan Reads in the United States and Reading out of Poverty in Australia.

It keeps getting better

 

It’s not just the books themselves that have such an enormous impact on children’s lives. Reading together as a family is invaluable.  When parents read to their kids, they’re strengthening listening skills, comprehension, cognitive development, and emotional intelligence – not to mention forming lifelong memories and nurturing a love of reading.

The numbers back this up: kids whose parents read to them see vocabulary increases of up to 1.4 million words. Reading together is a win/win/win!

How do we contribute?

 

donate booksSupport your favorite literacy group, drop off books in locations like laundromats and community centers, or start your own story hour!

And always remember to make time for reading. Little spaces between routine automated chores are now reading breaks! Neighborhood gathering places are opportunities to share your love of reading! Together, we can make the effort to shift our perspective on our busy days – instead of seeing the chores that weigh us down, let’s look for opportunities to lift each other up and learn!

By: Rachel Ornelaz

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