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In some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the country there is only one book available for every 300 children , according to a recent study in Reading Research Quartely. This is the reality for children who are growing up in poverty; books are scarce. A child without access to books won’t have the chance to become an engaged and capable reader.

Minority communities are disproportionately impacted by this lack of books. The average black 12th grader reads on an 8th grade level. These low literacy rates translate to lower college attendance rates and inadequate college preparation. In fact, studies show that only 23 percent of black high school graduates are adequately prepared for college.

Something must be changed. Minority students have to get to a place where they are not only reading daily but comprehending what they read. Much of the work assigned in college is reading, and if you’re seeking to be a well-rounded person you must also do some pleasure reading. What can students do to become capable readers? READ.  The more students read, the more they will develop reading comprehension and literacy skills.

This familiarity of language that you receive from frequent reading will prove useful in many other areas of life and your course curriculum. Regular readers will find their writing improve because they have digested several examples of excellent writing and for the same reason students will find their speech improve. Students also find that their social habits improve. How? Regular reading gives you knowledge on a host of subjects making it easier to hold conversation with people from all walks of life.

Reading is exercise for the brain, don’t let it bore you. Outside of your assigned reading, read what excites you. It’s never too late to develop your literacy skills. Pick up a book or a magazine and start reading!

Visit www.firstbook.org to learn more about how you can help get books to kids in need.

Give H.O.P.E. Live H.O.P.E.

Rochee Jeffrey, Social Media Coordinator for First Book
Guest Blogger

About the Author

This blog post comes from Rochee Jeffrey, the Social Media Coordinator for First Book, an international nonprofit that provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 80 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis. Visit www.firstbook.org to learn more about First Book and how you can help get books to kids in need.

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