BATMAN & BOOKS

KADEN

7-year-old Kaden is a 2nd grade student at a local elementary school. His favorite books are about Batman.

We met Kaden during our fourth annual Read Across America celebration.

United Way expanded Read Across America this year, providing volunteer readers to classrooms in eight schools in four towns: Branford, Hamden, New Haven and West Haven. We also brought new, age-appropriate books for each teacher’s classroom library.

Research shows that increasing access to quality books and allowing children to choose what they want to read improves not only academic performance, but also their attitudes toward reading and learning.

In addition, reading aloud to students helps them grow into stronger readers. The language in quality children’s books uses a larger vocabulary and more complex grammar than children hear in normal conversations. Hearing books read aloud helps children develop listening skills, and learn how words sound.

United Way has made an annual commitment to bringing Read Across America to schools across greater New Haven because we know that having access to books, being read aloud to, and engaging with volunteer readers, is a good mix for literacy success. Like any skill, reading is developed over practice and through example.

Involving volunteer readers is also a way for children to meet caring adults from different professions and backgrounds. It creates a time for children to express themselves, as well as an opportunity for volunteer readers to show their willingness to listen.

Making these connections is one way to help build a sense of community.

Kaden is already well on his way to being a successful reader, telling us, “I usually read to my parents.” In another 12 years or so, we’ll look forward to having him participate as a volunteer reader.

Kaden is already well on his way to being a successful reader, telling us, “I usually read to my parents.”