#GetInTheReadZone With Justin Tuck To Promote Early Literacy And Summer Learning
Remember the “Reading Is Fundamental” commercials when you were a kid? They came on during almost every commercial break as you watched your favorite cartoons. As a child, the importance of reading a book was planted in your head over and over. But in today’s digital age, where our children can google everything and download apps on the iPhone at the age of 3, how often are they reminded how important it is to let their imagination soar while just reading a book?
This week, leading up to June 19th, which is National Summer Learning Day, Justin Tuck of the Oakland Raiders and formerly of the New York Giants is issuing a social media challenge to athletes, celebrities, influencers and the general public to promote early literacy and summer learning. The challenge is to post a photo of a book that you will read to a child (or a photo of you reading the book) with the hashtag #GetInTheReadZone.
“We are incredibly excited about our latest project,” says Lauran Tuck, who along with her husband launched Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for literacy back in 2008. “We launched ‘The Read Zone’ with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the 50 Fund, using the platform provided by Super Bowl 50, to raise money and awareness to close the opportunity gap, specifically around literacy. In my opinion, social media campaigns are a great tool for nonprofit organizations because it is a way of getting important information out there for free,” she tells mommynoire.com.
The Read Zone’s social media campaign falls in line with the Tucks’ mission to promote children’s literacy, encouraging them to read, understand and succeed. Last week, the couple announced a $250,000 grant to provide books and literacy enhancing programs for low-income Bay Area children, prioritizing children in public housing. Lauran says that, according to a recent study published by the National Summer Learning Association, “More than 80 percent of low-income youth in this country are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade, making them more than four times as likely to drop out of high school as their peers who reach this critical benchmark.”
It’s a sad statistic, but Lauran believes that there are things we as parents can do to help change that. For starters, don’t forget to pick up the books this summer. “We also know that summer learning programs and reading with your children in the summer can help to erase early reading deficits,” she says.
Lauran, who has two sons—ages 2 and 5, is putting this advice to use at home. “My kids are little, so right now I really enjoy reading books by Eric Carle with them. Books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Busy Spider are engaging for my toddler as he learns news words and engaging for my preschooler as he learns to read.” The boys also favor another book, Home-Field Advantage, which happens to be written by their dad.
With their R.U.S.H. For Literacy organization in its seventh year, the Tucks are committed to making improvements in children’s literacy, and they are hoping to raise awareness with this week’s social media campaign. “Part of the work we are doing with ‘The Read Zone’ is to provide children with access to a diverse variety of books, free of charge. I also recommend checking out programs at your local library. The most obvious way to get your child excited about reading is to find books with material that interests your child.”