September 22, 2019 | Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
By Kenny Border
What is United We Read? United We Read is an opportunity for community members and other volunteers to come together and make a difference in the lives of every second grader within Lubbock County. United We Read positively impacts the most important subject in school and in life—Reading.
Volunteers read a book that has been chosen by Lubbock Area United Way, and then the volunteers assist the students in an activity which is tied to the book. At the end, each student is given a copy of the book and is able to take home his or her activity product.
The greatest educational gap is between the ages of 0-4. There are children who enter into school not having ever seen a book or much less been read to by an adult. Through United We Read, each child is able to take a book home—something that many of our children don’t possess. What is the minimum number of books a home needs in order to make an improvement in a child’s development? According to a recent study, kids need at least 80 books at home to achieve average scores of literacy. Those who own fewer than 80 books have been associated with a lower score of literacy. As the number of books increases, children’s development does the same. Lubbock Area United Way is assisting in laying the foundation for student literacy for every child in Lubbock County.
Around second or third grade, students begin the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. In the process, they open their minds to a flood of critical information across disciplines. And to incorporate this new knowledge, students must have mastered the basics of reading and achieved automaticity.
In achieving automaticity, we free our brains—our working memories—from the details of the task, allowing us to use that brain power to do more, building on those sets of automatic skills. With automaticity, students no longer need to use their working memory to facilitate the task of reading; they can use that memory for such things as interpretation, comprehension and creative thinking.
Lubbock Area United Way is making a difference in the lives of children and future generations through United We Read. This Thursday (Sept. 26) every second grade student in Lubbock County will hear the story of Thelma The Unicorn. Every child needs to learn to love who he or she is, even if he or she doesn’t have sparkles — just like Thelma.
Dr. Kenny Border is superintendent of the Shallowater Independent School District.