Local Program Promotes Reading Readiness for Young Kids

A woman reads to a child | Image by Beth Morgan/Plano Public Library

The Plano Public Library has implemented a reading readiness program that promotes early literacy for kids up to the age of five. The program combines play, singing, and talking to implement the building blocks of reading.

“Our baseline goal is to support education at all ages,” library manager Cecily Ponce de Leon told NBC 5. She later explained, “A lot of people look at [this] as story time, and that’s what we call it. [But] it’s much more than just reading and having fun with a book.”

The reading readiness program also includes parent/children playgroups that involve experts such as child development specialists, speech pathologists, and nutritionists.

An Australian study published by the Victoria state government’s Department of Education and Early Child Development concluded that frequently reading to children between the ages of four and five significantly impacts their reading and cognitive skills later in life.

For example, reading to children three to five times a week advances their reading skills by six months by the time they are four or five. Reading to children six to seven times a week advances their skills by a year.

The study further found that a child’s reading and cognitive abilities are deeply affected by how frequently they are read to before beginning formal schooling rather than home environment and family background.

However, another study published in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools presents contrasting evidence, pinpointing variables like maternal education and the frequency of home literacy activities, which undoubtedly would include being read to, as more critical factors in shaping early childhood literacy.

Such evidence suggests that reading outcomes are a function of regular parental engagement. It is not enough that children are read to. They must be read to at home.

As for Plano’s Readiness Program, activities are planned daily, and there are helpful videos for activities parents can do at home on the Plano Library website.

The Plano Independent School District boasts an impressively high graduation rate for Texas, with a four-year longitudinal study on the class of 2020 indicating that 96.1% of district students graduated high school on time.

Topping the statewide rate of 90.3%, the district dwarfed Dallas ISD’s extremely low graduation rate, which sat at 82.8% for 2020.

The Dallas Express reached out to several DISD Trustees regarding DISD’s poor performance but received no response.

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