Tarot cards? Nostradamus' book? Chicken bones?
Here is a better predictor of the future: Reading! Specifically, reading to a young child.
A recently reported study ("Books help 'prune' the growing brain," Oct. 23, Page B-6) notes that in those early years before age 4, a home with books gives a child the stimulating environment that makes a positive physical difference in brain development. That brain development is what promotes success in school. Get 'em while they're young, I say!
You may know the poem by Strickland Gillilan which ends, "You may have tangible wealth untold: Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be I had a Mother who read to me."
This is not a new idea. The research is just catching up with the lore of untold families. Mother knows best.
Some mothers (and fathers) don't have households with books to read. Or with a tradition of reading, especially before school age. Or reading at all. A number of efforts in the community target one serious deficit in nonreader homes: No books to read.
Books are the basic tools of literacy. With the literacy rate in our county exceptionally low, we would like to place more tools in the hands of more of our children. Here is one way you can help.
Just $5 can put a new book in the home of a local family and into the hands of a child. Eight local youth-serving agencies are joining with the Modesto Library to gather new low-cost, high-quality books for children and teens. The Friends of the Modesto Library's All Star Book Fair this week will help make the slogan "Every Reader Is a Star" a reality. The agencies are Crisis Center's Cricket House, Stanislaus Literacy Center's Family Literacy program, Haven Women's Center, Hutton House, Parent Resource Center, Red Shield Center and Sierra Vista Child & Family Services.
Each, along with the Modesto Library, has wish lists of books they can use to put books into homes throughout our community. Books that are the tools to build a successful student. Books we hope you will buy and share at the book fair.
Last year, book clubs, service groups, retirees and even other children donated more than $1,000 for new books to agencies and into the hands of children through our book fair. If you want to help, come to the book fair. Bring your pocketbook and share. We like sharing books.
Britton is active with Friends of the Modesto Library, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: All Star Book Fair
WHEN: Today, 4-8 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Modesto Library Auditorium, 1500 I St.
CONTACT: Anne, (209) 996-1531