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Child literacy key to academic success for children in Southern Nevada

childrens' books
Posted at 5:28 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 10:25:41-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Reading is an important part of a child’s development. The picture books at Spread the Word Nevada are filled with classic stories that provide some of the building blocks for learning.

“Reading is the basis of everything. You can’t do math problems without knowing how to read. You can’t do anything else. It’s the basics.”

Basics that Lisa Hobighorst from Spread the Word Nevada says reading plays a huge role in academic success.

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“Statistically, we know that kids that aren’t reading at grade level have a better chance at dropping out of high school and going down a bad path we don’t want them going down,” she said.

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Hobighorst says Nevada has struggled with child literacy with about 70% of fourth-graders in the state not proficient at reading. That’s an improvement from ten years ago when it was about 75%.

She says financial constraints can set families back when putting food on the table is prioritized over reading. Hobighorst wants that to change.

“You got to feed the body, but you have to feed the mind and that’s what these children are starving for. If we don’t do that, if we don’t break that cycle, it’s just going to continue,” she said.

Her organization has distributed more than 6 million books over 20 years and has given away about 60,000 each month. Volunteers also read to young kids to help them improve.

“We in that program alone, the children that we serve, will gain one to two grade levels just by having a mentor come in once a week for a half-hour for the whole year,” she said.

Hobighorst says if a parent wants to help their child get started, ask them what they like.

“If you have a reluctant reader. You always want things that are of high interest. Captain Underpants or Magic Tree House, those kinds of fun stories,” she said.

Spread the Word Nevada is always welcoming donations of books for kids from Pre-K to 5th grade, details can be found here.