Governor's Commission on Literacy
Mrs. Herbert is Honorary Chair of the Governor's Commission on Literacy.
The Governor's Commission on Literacy began by Executive Order in December of 2003.
The Commission's two goals are to:
- Maximize the number of Utah's children that read at or above grade level by the end of the third grade; and to
- Maximize the number of Utah's children that read with an adult for at least twenty minutes every day.
20 Minutes a Day
Reading is the basic tool for success in school, work, and life and must be laid early in childhood. Every child is important and deserves to become literate. The Governor's Commission on Literacy encourages every Utahn to read aloud and read stories with their children each day to help them develop a larger vocabulary, a longer attention span, better listening skills, and a solid reading foundation. Reading together will also build stronger relationships and will be fun.
We can't afford to wait until a child enters school at age 5 or 6 to start thinking about learning and literacy. The early years of life are no less important for a child's physical, social, and emotional development than the school years. In fact, the first years of life may set a child's course for success or failure in all future development. Many researchers agree that by the time they enter kindergarten, children have achieved 50 percent of the intelligence that they will have as adults. (Larrick. N.)
Reading with a child for at least 20 minutes each day will prove beneficial not only to that child but to society as a whole. Research about early childhood education repeatedly demonstrates that reading with a child during the preschool years has a ripple effect which positively impacts the child, the family, the schools, and society as a whole through increased economic development, reduced special education, and reduced criminal justice costs. Not surprisingly, 86 percent of all juvenile offenders have reading problems, and 60 percent of prison inmates are illiterate. Additionally, according to one study, "The U.S. economy suffers approximately $140 billion to $300 billion annual productivity loss traced directly to adult worker illiteracy. (Closing the Literacy Gap in American Business.)
Utah's First Lady Helps Set New World Record for Jumpstart's Read for the Record
First Lady Jeanette Herbert, chair of the Governor's Commission on Literacy, helped launch Utah's participation by reading Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad with students at Jackson Elementary in Salt Lake City on October 3rd.
"Participating in this record setting day is a great way we can build excitement with children about reading," said Mrs. Herbert, Utah's First Lady. "Reading is so important. Anything we as parents, teachers, and grandparents can do to help maximize the number of children reading at or above grade level by the end of the third grade is essential in helping our young children excel. I recommend taking at least 20 minutes a day to read to children."
Last year, roughly 2.2 million children and adults helped set the current world record by taking part in the reading event. In the process, participants help spread the word that reading and engaging with a child before he or she even enters kindergarten can improve his or her chances of graduating from high school by as much as 30 percent.