LatinaLista– According to the Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2009, Latino children in both 4th and 8th grades showed improvement in their reading skills.
Yet, there still exists a reading score gap between White and Latino children — 230 vs. 205 — which illustrates that there is still a need for literacy to be promoted within the Latino community.
That’s where Dia de los NiÃ±os comes in.
Traditionally observed in Mexico to celebrate children, it takes a different twist in the United States thanks to children’s author Pat Mora.
In 1996, Pat Mora, nationally acclaimed author of books for children and adults, proposed linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy. Her proposal was endorsed by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking in 1997. Subsequently, the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) endorsed the observance.
Since then, every April 30 has been known as El Dia de los NiÃ±os/El Dia de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). Activities are planned at libraries across the country to promote reading among Latino children.
From local celebrities having story time with children to games and contests, El Dia de los NiÃ±os/Dia de los Libros strives to show children that reading is fun.
Yet, there is nothing more fun than owning your own book.
However, to those families for whom every penny goes towards just trying to pay the bills, books are luxury items.
It would be great that if on El Dia de los NiÃ±os/Dia de los Libros children don’t just have the opportunity to hear a story — but can take that story home to read and re-read until they know that story by heart and are ready to move on to the next chapter in learning how to love reading.