Step into September sharing, caring, and reading, reading, reading

30 days hath September…” goes the rhyme, and the month definitely has lots of great things going for it. Besides being the threshold for a new school year and season, both of them packed with anticipation and possibility, focused celebrations can make the month taste extra crisp and sweet.

For one, the long Labor Day weekend offers up a fond farewell to summer, often involving time on the road. For another, it’s National Literacy Month. Surrounding the event last year. Partners for Public Education suggested that “By getting books in the hands of kids, you can help engage these young readers in their learning and help them see how school, community, and the world beyond are connected.”

They also suggest taking kids to the library, sitting down together to read out loud, and helping more advanced readers find books on their own. The Partners for Public Education website adds that “You can even set up an account with your local library to borrow e-books that can be downloaded to smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Kids can get new books to read sitting in their living rooms.”

Getting kids hooked on reading has huge lifetime payoffs, and in addition to Literacy Month, September 6 is National Read a Book Day. From September 3-9, you can help beginning readers get a great start in the world of words and also save 50% on School Zone’s Start to Read! Complete Early Reading Program 18-Book Set. At that price, if you buy two sets, it is essentially a BOGO, so you could get one set for your child and another for a friend, daycare, or classroom, for the same as one set at full price.

Or you could buy a spare set for grandma and grandpa’s house. September 9 is Grandparents Day, a day initiated by Generations United, whose mission is “to improve the lives of children, youth, and older people through international collaboration, public policies, and programs for the enduring benefit of all.” For a growing number of kids their grandparents’ house is their all-the-time home, as Generations United points out that 4.6% of all U.S. children “are being raised in grandfamilies or kinship care situations.”

Hardly anything builds important skills and wonderful memories like curling up in a parent’s or grandparent’s lap for story time. In “Benefits of Reading to Your Child,” posted to Kid Central, the article notes that “reading is one of the easiest ways to increase school readiness. When you read to your child, you’re building their vocabulary, language and literacy skills, while improving concentration, curiosity and memory.” Besides other oft-touted benefits such as success in school and a love of books, the article also suggests that “Books are a great way to teach children how to handle new experiences and stressful situations.” It continues, “Stories can help children understand, talk about and deal with everything from starting a new school to the loss of a pet.”

Amid a number of compelling figures and statistics, the article further points out that “If families read together for 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week, they get more than 121 hours of bonding time every year!”

Whether kids are read to or read on their own, the rewards are huge. They can include improved concentration, expanded knowledge of the world around them, improved vocabulary and language skills, and the development of both empathy and imagination.

As Dr. Seuss so aptly put it in I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!, “The more than you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” In the new season and school year that September ushers in, take your own kids, as well as others in your community, to countless destinations via the gift of reading.