Saturday, May 06, 2006


I've mentioned before that I love to read and will hide out with my nose stuck in a book every chance I get. I learned to read before I ever set foot in a classroom, thanks to time spent teaching me by my loving parents.

The 5 of us grew up with a love of reading. When our father got older and feeble, one of his greatest pleasures was when one of us would bring him a book that he had reminisced about reading in years gone by.

I ordered half a dozen Erskine Caldwell (one of the most risque, controversial and censored American writers of Dad's time) novels just for Dad (many of them used because they were out of print). Not only the well known works like God's Little Acre and Tobacco Road but ones like Georgia Boy and Trouble in July, too. Dad could remember and recite entire passages from when he read them the first time around, even if he couldn't remember what he had for supper the night before.

It seems that today our kids don't enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like reading. TV and video/computer games keep them enthralled while they turn-up their noses at low-tech pleasures like books.

Mamacita referred me to this post at The DeHavilland Blog and I just had to steal part of it. All you parents, if you already do this, KUDOS TO YOU. If you don't then get your butt in gear and start. Your child's future depends on you.

"My fellow parents,

The ability to read is the single most important indicator of success in life. If your child does not learn to read and read well, his opportunities in life are so limited that you may as well buy him a mop and a bucket right now: he won't get much further than minimum-wage manual labor for the rest of his life.

Despite what you hear from the talking heads in the news, our schools are perfectly capable of teaching a child to read. But we have to have children who are ready to learn, who have a supportive environment at home that reinforces what they're doing at school.

From almost the time that they're born, it is your responsibility - and only your responsibility - to prepare them to successfully learn how to read. Fortunately this is simple to do.

Read to them every day, preferably a few times a day. Let them see you reading. Make sure they have access to a wide variety of reading materials in the home.That's all it takes: do that, and they'll be ready to learn how to read when they get to school.

We'll take it from there, although of course we'll still expect you to do your part at home by continuing to read, continuing to
emphasize the importance of reading, and holding yourselves and your child accountable when we send home work that reinforces what we're doing in school.

And if you don't? Shame on you. You're failing your children, relegating them to a life filled with the frustration and despair that come with living on the fringes of society. They will always look longingly at the lives that others are able to build for themselves and knowing that success is permanently out of their grasp. It won't be the fault of the schools, nor will it be the fault of "society". It will be your fault, and yours alone.

So please: read to your children. Let them see you read. Give them access to books and other reading materials. And help them lay the groundwork for a life that can take them anywhere they decide they want to go.

Good night, and good reading."

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