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BRIDGE of the GODS Magazine

Give Children the Gift of Literacy and Academic Success

Aug 05, 2021 10:00AM ● By Family Features & Bridge of the Gods Staff
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Teaching a child to appreciate reading promotes academic achievement, opens opportunities for the imagination to soar, and helps kids learn about topics beyond their wildest dreams. 

Children who are read to and who learn to read at an early age are more successful students. In an article for The Guardian, Dr. Alice Sullivan states, "Of the 17,000 members, 6,000 took a range of cognitive tests at age 16. We compared children from the same social backgrounds who achieved similar tested abilities at ages five and 10, and discovered that those who frequently read books at age 10 and more than once a week when they were 16 had higher test results than those who read less. In other words, reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, both in vocabulary, spelling and mathematics. In fact, the impact was around four times greater than that of having a parent with a post-secondary degree."

You can help promote children's literacy (the ability to read and write) with these actions:

Give books to children. You can find a book on virtually any topic, aimed at nearly every age and reading level. If you're not sure what a child likes to read, choose a book about a topic they enjoy or about a favorite fictional character. Several Independent Columbia River Gorge Bookstores can help you find just the right book for your young readers. 

Support organizations working to promote literacy. Many organizations you conduct regular business with may have selected literacy as a cause that they support. For example, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program was developed by The UPS Store and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. This program, celebrating its 10th anniversary, provides books and educational resources to underserved communities. As part of the program, $10,000 worth of children's books were donated to 10 nonprofit organizations supporting children's literacy in 2019.

The Gorge Community Foundation serves Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam Counties in Oregon and Skamania, and Klickitat in Washington and provides grants to First Book and other childhood literacy programs.  

Create traditions around reading. Making books part of family rituals can help instill a love of reading in kids. You might set aside an evening for a reading marathon or read a bedtime story every night. You can also find creative ways to get young readers involved, such as assigning one child each night to read that day's mail aloud to the family, starting a reading contest to see who can read the most books in a given time period, or by reading a story series like Harry Potter or The Littles

Attend events that shine a light on literacy. One of the year's most anticipated events is the annual Tournament of the Roses Rose Parade on New Year's Day, which will include The UPS Store's float titled "Books Keep Us On Our Toes," which aims to inspire people to experience life through the joy of reading. After the parade, spectators can view the float up close. The store will hand out 10,000 children's books - many of which were donated by Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education, and media company - to parade-goers and post-event attendees.

Help kids get their own library card and learn how to use the library. A library card ensures access to books and can help children develop a love of reading. Former First Lady, librarian and teacher, Laura Bush and the United States Department of Education have some tips for teaching children to use their public library, including touring the library and participating in free library programs. 

Getting a library card is easy the Hood River County and Wasco County libraries, as well as the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, which serves The Gorge in Washington State, all offer free library cards for those in their service area. Some Gorge libraries have a reciprocity agreement that allows patrons of one library to borrow and use the services of another. 

Encourage kids to get hands-on with books. Reading isn't the only way to appreciate books; kids can get creative and make their own literature, too. Encourage them to write and illustrate their own stories and share them with the family.

For more information on the float or to contribute to support literacy, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by The UPS Store

Items of interest:

  • Gorge Literacy provides free tutoring services to adult learners within the Columbia Gorge, including: Wasco, Hood River, Gilliam, Sherman, Wheeler, Klickitat and Skamania counties.
  • Loowit's Legend: The Story of the Columbia Gorge, Written by Hood River author, Erin K. O'Connell, Illustrated by Vancouver artist, Diana Thewlis, is a children's book that tells the historic, local legend of the Columbia Gorge. The story explains the origin of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Saint Helens.

How to Encourage My Child to Read