Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reading to Children: The Financial Benefits

Since I first began my blog I have emotionally beseeched you to read to your children. 

I've tried to use images of cuddling up with your child reading a treasured book and conjured up phrases such as 'creating lasting memories'--all in hopes of talking you into reading with your child each day. Let's face it, this is reality. Of course I want all of those things for you. It is why I love to read, and why I also write. These are the memories I had growing up as a child living next door to a grandmother who was an avid reader. She made me passionate about reading.

Fast forward to today's society. We are all incredibly tired by the day's end. Most of us work full time jobs, only to come home to an endless list of chores, and children that need tending to. Who has time to read with them? We're just as tired and cranky as the rest of our family. We all want to put our feet up, watch a little television, and go to bed. Why pile one more chore upon ourselves? Okay, let's forget I called enjoying a moment of quality bonding a chore. It's not, and after you get into a pattern, you will in fact cherish these moments.

I digress. This isn't supposed to be about conjuring up sweet images, but talking dollars and sense--yes, I meant to say sense and not cents. We don't think about money and reading in the same context when our little toddlers are running around acting like goofballs with their underwear on their head and pretending they are superheroes. We are just laughing at their antics. But stop for a moment and think about how reading affects their future. How can a moment of your time now, equate to financial dollars as you move forward?

I've often used the phrase, "early readers make better students." The earlier your child starts reading, and the more advanced reader they become, will affect their comprehension in all areas of study.

Now let's fast forward into the future: high school. Your child now has the option of taking AP courses. These are courses that if they take in high school, they won't have to take in college. Money saving tip #1!

It's graduation day. Your child has taken all the AP courses available to them. Did I mention before that taking AP classes also gives them a higher weighted GPA? If they live in California (and I believe other states practice this as well) and they are in the top 9% of their high school they have automatically earned themselves a place in the U.C. system under the Eligibility Local Context program. I believe UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles are exempt from this, but their chances of being accepted there are greatly increased. No money saving tip here, but guaranteed access into college is a huge stress reliever for graduating seniors and their parents!

You say, "That's great, but my child wants to go to a private school. How does that help me?" Have you priced private education lately? Here, let me put some pillows down on the floor so you don't hurt yourself when you pass out. I speak from experience. I nearly choked and stopped breathing. But remember all those nights when you were too tired to read with your child, but forced yourself regardless? Those private institutions want YOUR child. They are going to woo them. Better yet, they are going to offer your child these wonderful little things called "merit scholarships!" Suddenly, things are looking a lot brighter. This is money saving tip #2.

I'll give you a real-case scenario. Our daughter narrowed her choices down to three colleges in California: U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, and a private institution. She was accepted at all three. Now we are a typical middle class income family. We had saved as much as possible for college, but chose to invest a good portion of our income in private education for our daughter growing up rather than material goods. We lived in a modest home, drove used vehicles, and lived a simple life. We weren't prepared for the cost of private college tuition. We could, however, cover the cost of UC tuition.

This is where the wooing begins. As I said before, our daughter applied to her top choices and was accepted at all three. She ultimately decided she wanted to go to the private institution but it was not within our means. Here is the difference between public versus private--almost daily she started receiving mail from the private institution asking her to consider attending their school. Then the all-important financial offer package came from them. Remember the first time I almost choked? This was the complete opposite. Now we were all jumping for joy and dancing around like idiots. Suddenly, a school that seemed so far out of our reach was now more affordable than the UC system and that included room and board! The best part, she was able to attend her school of choice! She has told us multiple times how she can't imagine going anywhere else. When she graduates next year she will be graduating with a dual major--all within four years! Thank you AP courses! Not going to an impacted public college and having to pay for 5+ years of tuition is money saving tip #3!

There you have it folks. Early readers make better students! Read to your children--if not for the treasured memories--then for everyone's financial future!

Wishing you all a little adventure,

K. Lamb
Author of the Dani P. Mystery series - Like Us! or @danipmystery

It's the adventures of Dani P.
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