We’re in the middle of our “If you Give a Child a Book” campaign, and we’re trying to make sure every kid has something to read.
When kids have books, they’re more likely to do better in school and in life.
Raejean Kanter has been reading a long time.
“I remember my geography book back when I was in 4th grade had a picture of a little boy in the Caribbean,” she says. “I looked at that and I thought, ‘wow, that looks pretty nice.’”
Raejean’s love of reading hasn’t waned. If anything, it’s grown. So much so, that she’s earned a new name.
“They call me Grandma Book!”
Grandma Book is the author and often the main character in stories she writes herself, or sometimes with the help of her grandkids. All of her stories involve a different culture and a lesson on values. She says there are a lot of benefits to reading young.
“Kids having books is great because it really helps their imagination,” Raejean says. “It helps take them into different worlds which they wouldn’t be able to go.”
But she says reading skills also have a huge impact on a kid’s education, especially in older grades.
“They have social studies, they have science, they have all these things that they have to read,” Raejean says. “If their reading isn’t up to pa at that time, then it becomes very hard for them to learn the rest of the subject matter.”
Research from Ohio State University shows parents who read at least one book to their children per day expose their kids to 78,000 words per year. By the time those kids get to kindergarten, they know 1.4 million more words than children who aren’t read to.
“It does a whole group of things that are not related necessarily to academic learning,” says Raejean.
University of Pennsylvania researchers say poor reading skills are associated with higher levels of crime and teen pregnancy.
Grandma Book says reading is a great way to prevent that.
“It has to do with building self confidence and being able to learn to stand up for themselves,” she says.
And that’s why she’ll encourage reading as long as she can.
“My bag of books just comes with me all the time, I guess!”
Grandma Book is just one of the wonderful people in our area supporting childhood literacy, but you can help too!
Every dollar you give during our “If You Give a Child a Book” campaign will support the work being done at Milwaukee’s Next Door Foundation. Donate at tmj4.com/giveabook or text 4Books to 345345.