Archive for March, 2013

7 Facts for Parents on Reading

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

I love to read. However as a child growing up in India, I did not have the luxury of just walking into a bookstore and selecting a story book for purchase – they were usually very expensive and a luxury to own. 

Of course I had all my school books because those were necessary, but not the beautiful, colorful story books I saw on store shelves such as Snow White, The Wizard of Oz, Little Women, or The Secret Garden, to name just a few that I would have loved to own.

But I was very fortunate because one of the schools I attended did have a small library and students were allowed to check out a book a week and I loved doing that.

To this day, I still fondly remember a series of  mystery books about a group of children exploring caves near the ocean and the dangers of pirates lurking about – I felt as if I was right there with them! I am not sure who that author was but he/she was very imaginative and but I just loved those books. I was also able to borrow and exchange books with many of my friends so I never felt deprived of reading material growing up,

Because Visions for Villages has projects on educating children, I wanted to do a blog post on reading so I did some research and found interesting statistics which I would like to share with you from scholastic.com’s 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report,

Did you know that:

  1. Despite the fact that infancy is a crucial time for establishing language skills, only about half of all children were read to at home prior to age one.
  2. Reading frequency declines after age 8. Girls are more likely to read more often, than boys.
  3. Mom is the top source for book suggestions for kids age 5-11, and friends are most influential among kids age 12-17, who also turn to the Internet.
  4. Kids like choosing their own books  — 89% say their favorite books are the ones they picked out themselves.
  5. Parents who are high frequency readers (read for fun daily) are six times more likely than low frequency parents to have children who also read for fun daily.
  6. Three in four Harry Potter readers say reading Harry Potter has made them more interested in reading other books – and parents agree.
  7. Two-thirds of kids say they do better in school since reading Harry Potter and their parents agree. 

What are some of your experiences with reading as a child? Did you have any favorite books? How do you feel your reading experiences affected you as a child growing up? As an adult?

Adventure with a Purpose

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Recently, I took a necessary road trip and almost reached the limit of my normally adventurous spirit.

I was in a jeep traveling with my sister and some friends on a steep mountain road which seemed to get narrower and narrower – a seemingly endless windy road with multiple hairpin curves and gorges so deep, one literally could not see the bottom. Guard rails on most sections of this road were practically non-existent!

After a somewhat hair-raising two hours, we finally arrived in Khadarshnong – the village for our next project in Meghalaya, India.

As our jeep stopped midway up the mountain, we then climbed (huffing and puffing!) to the top to meet the village elders at their little school to discuss the needs of this community and what we can do to help.

As we stopped halfway up, breathing in pristine, fresh, clean air, enjoying views of lovely misty mountains in these Himalayan foothills, we felt as if we were standing almost on top of the world.

However, in such a beautiful world we also saw extreme hardship. Many of the people lived in very tiny homes which housed their entire families, earning small and sporadic income, mainly from farming and small livestock.

More importantly for four months out of the year this community has extremely limited access to one of the most basic things we take for granted – water!

Between December and April, this area gets just enough water to drink from the two wells they have in this community, and the villagers have to walk about one and a half hours to the nearest water source to fetch water for bathing, sanitation and other general usage.

We believe we can make a difference to this community, and are currently doing a more in-depth assessment of enhanced water availability through the harnessing of rainwater, conserving greenery around the existing water sources as well as some other possibilities.

We appreciate all the help our donors have given for our projects  – a little bit goes a long ways in this area and we are very excited to be involved in this new project.