WHILE PARENTS and academics debate the best methods for teaching reading in the classroom, one fact remains indisputable: Children become better and more avid readers based on what goes on in their homes.
Studies show and educators testify to the fact that children of parents who read them stories, who read a lot themselves and who regularly buy or borrow books generally learn to read with little trouble and develop a lifelong appreciation of books.
Children who lack such at-home stimulation tend not to be ready to learn when they get to school.
Many of these youngsters never catch up and are less likely to make reading an enjoyable, integral part of their lives.
Baltimore County education officials deserve credit for focusing on how to get more families to take up reading together.
In cooperation with the county library system, they are in the midst of a month-long program called, "Baltimore County -- Families that Read Together," featuring incentives for parents and children to become library users. The Sun is a co-sponsor of this campaign.
Through next week, children who apply for library cards will be allowed to check out one video for free from the library.
Parents and children will be asked to sign contracts agreeing to visit the library regularly.
At the end of the campaign, schools with the highest percentage of students signed up for library cards will win books for their libraries.
And Barnes & Noble Booksellers of White Marsh and Greetings & Readings of Towson will offer 20 percent discounts to families that show a library card.
Parents, this campaign is a chance to help your children cultivate one of the most valuable -- and fun -- of all habits.
A trip to the library today won't guarantee a child's future success, but it is a step in the right direction.
Pub Date: 5/06/98