Haverhill Promise’s Arndt Says Reading in Front of Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers Helps Too

Haverhill Promise campaign director Jenny Arndt during a 2019 appearance with WHAV's Win Damon. (WHAV News photograph.)

These days, education is being conducted by distance learning, using a computer. However, Haverhill Promise’s Jenny Arndt says there is something to be said about reading from an actual, physical, book.

The collaborative has been promoting grade level reading since before the pandemic, and Arndt, who serves as campaign director, says studies suggests parents read to their children 20 minutes a day.

“Research has shown it’s actually about the 15-minute mark where children especially start to see the benefits of sitting down with a book, and the vocabulary and the right amount of words coming across. So, we say 15 to 20 minutes, but we really try to encourage 20 minutes because that’s when gains really start to happen, according to science, and according to research,” said Arndt. who was a guest Wednesday on WHAV’s morning program.

She adds Haverhill Promise aims to go beyond getting students to read at grade level by the third grade.

“Just recently someone said, ‘oh, I didn’t’ realize that my non-reader could participate.’ We’re not just talking about those kids who can already sit and read a book independently. We’re talking about parents sitting and reading with their toddlers, and their pre-schoolers, and their little ones who are just starting to learn to read, because those 20-minute sessions of sitting with a parent, older sibling or caregiver, sitting in a home and having a book read to them, is so beneficial to them in having their brains in developing those literacy skills that they’re going to need when they go to school.”

Arndt says Haverhill Promise is still giving away gift certificates to those participating in a reading challenge, and plans are being made for a mural, this summer, to congratulate the students. There’s more information about the reading challenge at HaverhillPromise.com.

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