October 12, 2005

Newswriting - Editorial

The school year is well underway. Teachers have gone through their fair share of chalk sticks. Students diminished their fair share of paper. Parents popped their fair share of aspirin, (to ease the pain of daunting homework questions). Thanksgiving turkeys are within a fork’s length’s reach, but before you consider asking to pass the bird, think about how your job as a parent could be lightened in one simple step: encouraging your child to read.
Like the early settlers made peace with the natives, we need to make peace with the confounding statistics. According to the US Department of Education online, students are not reading well enough. The website reported a startling statistic: 40% of students, from sea to shining sea, cannot read at a basic level. Federal monies tend to be more heavily doled out to kindergarten through third grade age classes because students are expected to be able to read by the end of the third grade. These statistics alone should be enough to motivate parents to encourage reading in the homes.
Americans have a lot to be thankful about and not only on Turkey Day. November 3, marks the 39th birthday of the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), started by Mrs. Margaret McNamara in Washington, D.C. RIF, the largest non-profit children’s literary agency, is a program that distributes free books to encourage learning through books. The agency gives free books to students to keep. Books are meant to encourage exploration and to spark imaginations. Over 265 million books have been given out since RIF’s founding.
Though base balling, cheerleading, and passing the pigskin might appeal more now, in the long run, the gift of reading will be more beneficial. Reading is a safe gift: you can’t get pummeled in the head with a ball, you can’t fall from a stunt and fracture a femur, and you can’t get tackled to the ground and break everything. Reading is a gift the breeds other readers. After all, what child doesn’t want to read to a younger peer? Reading can even be an effective way to solve problems without suffering through them, to see the world without leaving the home, and to build imaginary castles in the gray matter you already possess. Readers can take advantage of the smorgasbord of opportunities in life that non-readers cannot, and who wouldn’t want turkey without the gravy or mashed potatoes or corn or stuffing or cranberries or green beans or pumpkin pie?

Posted by KatieAikins at October 12, 2005 11:37 PM