Dropping literacy rates highlight importance of National Reading Month for Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – For some, reading may come easy. But according to Nazareth College Interim Dean Maria Hopkins, being literate should never be taken for granted.

“If you’re someone who grew up reading at home and reading with your family, and whether it’s bedtime stories or just fun stories at different points in your childhood, then when you get to school you already have a sense of what reading is,” Hopkins said.

All you need to do is look at the data. A report released by Rochester City School District in November shows that more than half of Rochester students are two or more grade levels behind in math or reading.

Making national reading month even more important for educators doing everything they can to raise awareness around the problem.

“Without having all of those other experiences that are related to learning and experiencing the world through books, then we run the risk of students thinking that reading is just really getting words off a page,” Hopkins said.

Rachel volunteers at at Barnes & Noble story time, and looks forward to it each weekend.

“We have animal themes. Water. Summertime. Friendship for Valentine’s Day. So it kind of depends on the week. We just pick what is relevant,” Rachel said.

It’s a chance to emphasize the importance of reading to kids while having some fun too.

Paying it forward by spreading literacy to the next generation. A lesson that Hopkins says is invaluable to future generations.

“Whether they are learning experiences or reading experiences or just our interactions with other people. Reading really helps us grow that cognitive framework that helps us make sense of the world,” Hopkins said.

Barnes and Noble “Storytime” info here.

National Book Month information information here.