Boys readingNow that we’ve reached Memorial Day weekend and we’re on the cusp of summer, it’s – of course – time to be promoting summer reading programs in our libraries. One site that has some good material targeted at parents all year long is Reading Rockets, a site from WETA public television. They have a pretty good summer reading site, “Get Ready for Summer!” that’s more school- and teacher-oriented than public-library oriented, but it’s good to pass along to any parents and teachers who are looking for worthwhile material on reading.

While you’re at the Reading Rockets site, you should also scoot over to some of the good informational pages elsewhere on the site. I particularly recommend the “Strategies to Help Kids Who Struggle With Reading” page, which will point you to some brief but pithy articles that should interest parents with kids who are having reading problems. They can help parents – in particular parents who come from lower-income families – figure out how they can help, and get help for, their kids.

The important point we should all remember is here, and it’s kind of scary. But it’s true:

Unfortunately, the older a child is, the more difficult it is to teach him or her to read. The window of opportunity closes early for most kids. If a child can’t read well by the end of third grade, odds are that he or she will never catch up. And the effects of falling behind and feeling like a failure can be devastating.

I’ve seen so many boys, I mean kids, turn off to reading after third grade, because they didn’t get help soon enough. So we should be encouraging parents not to wait and not to delay. And we should be encouraging those parents to read, read, read aloud to their kids with reading problems.