Many of us have a fond memory with a book as the focal point: one that was read to us countless times by parents or grandparents, or maybe even the first we read on our own, which for me was Amazing Grace. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to realize how fortunate I was to have books surrounding me from birth along with people who cared enough to read them.
I started volunteering with Reach Out and Read at an inner city hospital in Minneapolis. The volunteer coordinator started our training by holding up a file folder with the word “upscuddle” scrawled on it. Assuming this was a word many of us were not familiar with, she went on to say that children who have been read to have more than quadruple the vocabulary coming into kindergarten than their counterparts. The comparison was drawn: the confusion I felt at the word “upscuddle” happens on a moment-to-moment basis for children with a limited vocabulary, reading and writing skills.