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The Most Prominent Predictor of High School Graduation

Read this quote from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2015:

“Reading proficiency by the third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success.”

Whoa! That is significant! We all want our children to excel in school, so then if reading proficiency is critical to educational success, you may wonder, what’s the best way to improve my child’s reading proficiency?

The answer—reading aloud to your children is the number one factor in helping them learn to read.

Don’t worry and don’t stress, because we’re here to help! We’re here to give you ideas, cheer you on, and help you read aloud to your kids so that they will love books and reading, and become proficient readers.

So, let’s get started! Here are two suggestions that my wife and I did with our kids, and these were a hit!

1. Create a special area

Whether this place is on their bed, on a couch in the living room, on bean bag chairs, or under a fun play tent (like the one in the picture above), kids love a special place for reading! Just ask my kids, I sat beside our boy’s bunk beds so that all our kids could join in. I had a child on my lap, one at each side, and the others on the bed looking over my shoulders at the book! What a fantastic time!

Other ideas:

  • Make sure the area has good lighting so that you can easily read the text and search the illustrations together.

  • Have fun accessories for the kids to hold while you read, like stuffed animals, a blanket, or their favorite toy.

2. Set a consistent time

This is important! Set a time designated for reading to your children. This principle makes reading aloud a habit. Yes, read with them at that time every day! It’s okay if it’s a few minutes off, but it really does make a difference to have a consistent time.

My kids LOVED bedtime because that’s when I told them stories—it also helped them look forward to getting ready for bed. (That by itself should give you a reason to cheer!)

  • Make a time that works for your schedule and stick to it.

  • If you have a couple of different times available, decide the time that will have the least interruptions. Maybe after eating breakfast, or at bedtime.

  • Since a lot of you will be homeschooling, this could be your first activity with your children. That is a great way to start out the school day!

Here’s to creating special moments together!

P.S. Isn’t that the most darling picture ever!! I want to build a tent where I can read with my grandchildren!


Red Panda Books sells personalized children’s adventure books that encourage parents to read with their children and experience adventures together! A portion of the books’ proceeds will be donated to support the Red Panda Network and other organizations that protect endangered species and their habitats.


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