The Sound of Magic

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If you are really lucky and have a friend who is a teacher, they may just ask you to read to their class this month.

Don’t say “no” – if you do, you’ll miss out.

You’ll never have a more captive audience than a classroom full of elementary school kids, listening as you make a book come to life. Sure, they will bombard you with questions before or after you read said book. They’ll want to know how much money you make, where you work, if you are single. If you are single, they’ll want to know why.

They may tell you that your tie is funny, or ask why you aren’t wearing one. Kids are naturally curious, which is exactly why this whole reading to them thing is so much fun. Reading to kids also helps them become better readers, encourages language skills, and teaches them the importance of reading.

Not to mention, as Dr. Seuss put it, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” The man was a genius, and that’s probably why, since 1998, the National Education Association has celebrated Read Across America Day on Seuss’s birthday, March 2nd.

Even if you can’t visit a classroom, chances are you know at least one child, so why not surprise them with a book and a little bit of your time? Reading to kids does not require any special gifts, just a book, your voice and a little patience – you need to give young eyes a chance to look over the illustrations.

I can still hear my grandpa reading me The Three Little Pigs. He had a voice for the pigs, and one for the wolf. He even let me “huff and puff” and make the “blow your house down” sound with him, while he read.

In an age when electronics dominate kids’ time, books need your voice more than ever. According to a Detroit Free Press report, third-grade reading proficiency in Flint dropped from 41.8 percent in 2014 to 10.7 percent in 2017.

The numbers are scary, but reading to kids encourages them to become readers, and to become enthusiastic about reading. Find out more about how to help improve literacy in Flint at flintliteracynetwork.org.

Whether you carve out a few moments in March or decide to make reading to kids more steady work, it’s worth your time. As Seuss put it, “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”

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