Reading that’s a habit that you ought to engrain in your child as early as possible. Because if a child does not read well by third grade he/she is four times less likely to graduate from high school on time than a proficient third grade reader.

[1] The better the reader the child is in third grade, the better his chances are for graduating from high school on time. Unfortunately, according to the National Center for Education Statistics reports[CN1] , white children were more likely to be read to every day than African-American or Hispanic children. Sixty-one percent of white children were read to everyday as compared to 41 percent of African-American children and 33 percent of Hispanic children.

Whether you’re Black, Brown, or white, it’s important that you read to and with your child every day. It doesn’t make much difference what they read. Maya Angelou reminds us that “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

[2] So if the costs of purchasing books is an issue for you take your child to your neighborhood library and take out some books. If you run out of library books try writing your own books with your child. My oldest to my youngest will tell you that when they were young and when we ran out of books that they were interested in reading, we made up and wrote our own books with made up titles like “Ned and Fred,” “Morris the Dragon,” and “Eli the Mouse.”

It didn’t make any difference to my children that these weren’t published books with fancy book covers. In fact, on occasion we’d even draw our own covers and illustrations. You’ll be surprised what a set of water coolers or crayons from the Dollar Store can do to ignite your child’s imagination and love of reading.

*Frustration In America (Van's first book) is available on line at