Key to College Starts With Reading

By Jacki Cisneros

Many studies have shown the benefits of reading to early learners as young as infants. Reading to a young child helps build vocabulary, comprehension, speech and social skills. Each year Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera and its volunteers come together to donate 10 books to every kindergarten student in Pico Rivera—typically over 800 books in all! It’s a fun event that gets our future college grads excited about reading and starting or adding to their own personal library at home.

Many of us may think that reading with a younger child is something typically done with a parent or teacher. However, older siblings also play an important role in demonstrating the importance of reading and comprehension, and this goes for all younger siblings—from babies to teens. Children often look up to and want to imitate older teens and young adults. Think back to when you were in grade school and the role models you looked up to.

If you have a love for reading, why not share it! Remember that colleges are always looking for students that have contributed something unique to the community through volunteerism, leadership or academic achievement. What better way to demonstrate your commitment to education then to become a role model for literacy. It can be as simple as researching and selecting themed books with a sibling. For high school students who don’t have a younger sibling, consider becoming a volunteer at a local school or preschool, or lead a book club or meet up at your local library for younger students in your neighborhood.

As you continue to build your needs for college and scholarship opportunities, don’t forget to think about the little contributions you can make in your home or in your community that could be used as a learning experience and build your character. Document your “aha” moments and think about how the experience has changed you. Every experience will help you tell a great story in colleges and scholarship essays.

Jacki Cisneros