Kids Must Continue to Read during the Summer

Here is food for thought. When it comes to kids, literacy and nutrition go hand in hand in their development. The nation’s largest literacy organization teamed up with a local dairy to spotlight the importance of keeping kids reading during the summer when they’re not in school. Pat Hernandez has more.


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image of Kim Anderson is director for Reach Out and Read-Texas at the UT Medical School Houston reading a book to children

Reading is Fundamental prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books to those who need them the most. Kim Anderson is director for Reach Out and Read-Texas at the UT Medical School Houston. She says if parents read to their children more, children would be ready to start school, ready to learn.

“Story telling, where they can follow a plot, their cognitive development, all of that critical thinking, all those skills are extremely important. They can just pick up a book that has one picture in it and say…LOOK AT THAT COW, THAT IS A BLACK AND WHITE COW and, WHAT DO COWS DO BESIDES GIVE US MILK? There’s lots of things that they can begin to and, it’s really necessary that they do take that time and just talk to their children.”

PH: “This should happen as early as possible?”

Anderson: “Absolutely as early as possible. There’s studies out there that tell us that the amount of vocabulary words an eight month old hears, has a direct relationship to their cognitive ability when they start school.”

Kids at the Children’s Museum not only got a free book, but some milk courtesy of Tim Hawk of Borden, who also brought the dairy’s most famous spokes-animal.

image of kids drinking milk while listening to a book reading

“It’s especially important right know. Kids through their school systems, normally have a nutritious breakfast everyday. Obviously in the summertime, they may not be getting that and so, what a great time to talk about milk, nutrition, and why not bring reading into it? Our partnership with Reading is Fundamental, milk, nutrition, reading. It’s about the kids, it’s for the kids, and we brought Elsie the Cow here today. You know, celebrity spokesperson right there. So, it’s been a real fun day.”

Keli Hawthorne is a pediatric dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine. She says nutrition is the fuel that drives development.

“There have been numerous studies to show that children who consume breakfast before going to school, do better in school than kids who don’t have a breakfast. The components of the breakfast are important as well. Part of that would be having a carbohydrate, a protein and even a fat source, to help get the kids to the lunch time meal. So, having milk at breakfast provides that carbohydrate for energy and protein as well, having some cereal or toast with a little peanut butter, maybe even a fruit, all of those healthy food components for breakfast are important for kids.”

Amy Smart brought her young son to the Museum. She knows how important nutrition and literacy are in a child’s development.

“It’s important to read with your kids every night, it’s very important to make sure that they’re reading on a daily basis.”

PH: “Do you think parents don’t realize that the earlier you can read to the kids, the better off they are?”

Amy Smart: “I think the schools are really telling parents you’ve got to read with your kids every night, and so parents are aware that it’s very important that you learn to read at an early age. They have to do it during the summer so they do not lose their reading skills summer. It’s very important to read all summer long.”

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.

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