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Children & Family Services: If you read only this today…


By Ashley Dooley Wohlgemuth

By Ashley Dooley Wohlgemuth

Children in poverty may have heard up to 30 million fewer words than children in middle to upper income households. Therefore, as Dr. Suess would say, the time is prime!

Click here to read the entire February 2019 newsletter

Please, read it to a child

Parenting is the hardest job you will ever have. It comes with no step-by-step instructions. Each situation is different. It’s not like purchasing a television where you can refer to the instruction manual. Nor is it like going to school where a teacher can walk step-by-step alongside you in solving a problem. If you’re from a younger and hipper generation than me, perhaps you feel you can rely on YouTube videos. Thousands of videos, web sites, parenting books, and blogs are available. But who has the time? Changing diapers, feeding hungry children and chasing mobile toddlers is not a time-rich environment.

However, there is one thing I would plead with all parents to make time for: Reading!

Read Across America Day

March 2 is National Read Across America Day, the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss. The benefits of reading have been well documented. First, it fosters the relationship between parent and child. Second, it improves vocabulary. According to Dr. Anne Fernald, who analyzed more than 50 years of research, children of lower-income parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more-affluent peers. This vocabulary gap can hinder progress. Children in poverty may have heard up to 30 million fewer words than children in middle to upper income households. Therefore, as Dr. Suess would say, the time is prime! At Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph we challenge all parents to read to their child daily in the month ahead.

And remember, reading need not be expensive. For example, when your child is a baby you can read anything out loud – emails, the cereal box, a grocery store ad, signs as you drive to a doctor’s appointment. Preschool children also appreciate books with pictures, and a local library can be a rich resource. Libraries also offer computers to access the internet. My elementary school-aged children love reading from online sources such as www.dogonews.com for fun articles on current events tailored to a kid’s interests.

We hope you accept our challenge. Read every day. “The more you read the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you will go.” – Dr. Suess

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, contact us for an Ages & Stages Assessment. Call 816-659-8235 or email jhackney@ccharities.com

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