Guest Blog: Celebrating Literacy for a Lifetime

K Smith

Guest Blog: Celebrating Literacy for a Lifetime

By Kevin Smith

The most valuable lesson I have learned during my career as a teacher and reading coach is that literacy is the biggest predictor of success. Reading is absolutely fundamental to excel in school and in life.

My mother, a dedicated preschool teacher, understood the importance of literacy skills when she instilled a love of reading in her children.  Because of her example, I was able to terrify my dad by sounding out written words at the tender age of two.

Reading comes easy to me, but as I learned in my first year of teaching emotionally-disabled elementary students, learning to read takes determination and practice. While it was a struggle working with students who had little to no support at home, I will never forget the joy I felt watching students sound out words with confidence.

Learning to read begins long before the first day of school. It begins at home. That is why we are travelling around the state in honor of the department’s fifth annual Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!, encouraging parents and teachers to promote early reading.

As a parent, there are many ways you can help your child build lifelong literacy skills. Show your child how important and enjoyable reading is by reading daily. When reading to your child, pick books that include a rich vocabulary.  When your child sees that you enjoy reading, they will model your good behavior.

Create a special reading place at home with a variety of books so even the youngest family members can choose to read. While your child is in diapers, describe activities to them like tying your shoes or cooking dinner. “Daddy is gathering the chicken broth with a ladle and adding it to the linguine in the silver pot.”

Literacy skill building is not only good for your brain it also creates a closer relationship between parent and child. Just remember to make reading fun, and both you and your child will be lifelong readers.

For more information about the department’s efforts to promote reading, visit Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!

Kevin Smith is the Deputy Director of the Just Read, Florida! office and has been a selected as a “Teacher of the Year” for two different schools during his career.


3 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Celebrating Literacy for a Lifetime

  1. Hi Keven,

    I am Ancelia Reeves. I teach second grade at Oak Park Elementary School in Tampa, Florida. I would like to go into our schools surround neighborhoods and deliver books to families to push literacy. How would you suggest that I go about doing this/

    • Anceleia,
      There are a lot of great programs which help families. My company Infinity Auto Insurance is one of them. Since it’s inception, we have distributed over 650,000 free books. We are also moving with the schools in regards to technology. Our website is interactive and provides valuable resources to parents, teachers, and the child. Visit to find out more.

  2. Great article Kevin! Too many times, we hear the lack of tools is the primary reason parents do not read with their children, which is one the reasons Infinity Insurance started a free family literacy program. Read Conmigo is a literacy program that promotes English/Spanish bilingualism. We provide parents and teachers with unique learning tools including bilingual children’s books and FREE activities, to help improve the learning environment in their home.

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