We’ve all experienced it at least one time in our lives – you get to the end of a story and want it to keep going. What happens to the main character when the last page of the book is turned? How are you supposed to go back to your own life when you’ve just experienced such an adventure in your mind?
Reading isn’t just a skill that is acquired. It is a treasure to hold on to. That’s why, every September 8th, we celebrate International Literacy Day.
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.Paul Sweeney
About International Literacy Day
Founded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Literacy Day is a day to empower and encourage people to share the ability and love of reading. Literacy is an essential skill. Research shows that literacy and poverty are closely linked, and one in four children, globally, grow up not knowing how to read. For some, it’s difficult to grasp. Others may have a learning disability and may need additional help. However, in today’s society, being literate is the key to success, and the simple act of picking up a book can keep your brain healthy.
Reading As You Age
It doesn’t matter what you read – as long as you keep doing it! In a 2013 study, scientists found that more frequent cognitive activity can slow cognitive decline, independent of other common neuropathic conditions. So, whether you read the daily comics in the newspaper or War and Peace¸ your brain is getting a workout. That’s why every single one of our Brightview Communities has open libraries for residents to enjoy. They are frequently being filled with new books to keep up with our residents’ voracious appetite for literature.
However, the act of reading itself can become more difficult as we age. Thankfully, there are many fantastic resources to help.
Large print books
Large print books are just that – books where the copy inside them is larger than what is in your typical book. Most libraries have a large print book section, making it easier to borrow them. Large print books are luckily, available at most retail and online bookstores as well as local libraries.
E-Readers, like a Kindle, Nook, or even an app on your phone, allow you to download books electronically. You can purchase the books, and most library systems also have e-books to borrow for free. Using the device, you can adjust the font size, the luminosity of the screen, and even the style of writing to suit your needs.
While it may not be reading with your eyes, your brain is still getting a work out when you listen to an audiobook. These books can be downloaded onto a mobile device or computer, or they can be purchased or borrowed as CDs. At one library in Maryland, you can even borrow a portable device that’s similar to an iPod with the book pre-loaded onto it. All you need to do is pop in some headphones!
Sharing the Love of Reading
READING WITH OTHERS
Reading with others is a great way to build relationships and keep your brain healthy. Start a book club where you don’t only discuss the book, but you read it together. Take turns reading it out loud or listen to the audio-book together. If reading out loud, don’t forget to do character voices to make it more fun!
Start a book club. You may find that you’ll read a book for a book club that you wouldn’t otherwise consider reading. It’s an opportunity to make friends and expand your mind! Plus – most book clubs include snacks so even your inner foodie can get inspired.
Reading with kids and grandkids gives them the chance to spend time with you, make memories, and learn to read as well. It also may help seniors with a sense of purpose, and the extra-large print in children’s books may be easier to read. Overall, reading with grandchildren benefit both the grandparents and the children.
Suggested Books for Reading Out Loud for Storytime
If you want to start spending story time with your grandchildren – or any child for that matter – here are a few of our favorite suggestions:
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
This is a classic that is most loved by children between the ages of 18 months and 4 years old. The repetition of the lines and the pictures keep the reader’s attention – just look for the mouse on each page. It can also spark conversations. First published in 1947, it contains objects that today’s kids may not be familiar with. Talk to them about phones, clocks, and mush.
Elephant and Piggie Books by Mo Willems
For kids between the ages of 3 and 6, the series of more than twenty Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems makes reading out loud fun – and interactive. The print is very large, and it’s all dialogue between the two characters. Kids will love it if you do voices while you read, or if the child is reading already, have them read one character’s dialogue while you do the other. Start with Today I’m a Frog, or I Really Like Slop!
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Almost any book by Roald Dahl is captivating to kids between the ages of 7 and 10. James and the Giant Peach is an excellent introductory book because of the imaginative adventure that James goes on. Make it interactive and share peaches with your grandchild. Research the garden bugs that become James’ friends. Watch the movie together when you’re finished.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The full series of seven books can take plenty of time to read. The first book takes place when Harry turns 10, and this is a great age to start reading this series at. The later books can get somewhat scary to younger children, and the number of pages may be a turnoff for some. But it’s an adventure that you won’t forget. This is also a fantastic series to listen to in audio form.
Happy International Literacy Day!
Whatever you do, keep reading, and take the time to share the gift of literacy with a younger generation. They will thank you for it.
About Brightview Senior Living
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and manages award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer apartment homes in Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village®, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Each of our Brightview Senior Living communities focuses on five elements of wellness which we call SPICE. Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Cultural, and Emotional. Our amenities and programs encourage active senior living communities and development in these areas, keeping residents active and healthy.