The author's hometown library
Link to June 11 The State op-ed piece by Associate Editor Warren Bolton, "Reading expands children's potential".
Excerpt: I rarely miss an opportunity, whether in this column or when talking with students at a local school, to stress the importance of reading.
I can't help it. My mom, a working woman who raised 11 children, promoted reading as a pathway t't success. She brought books home seemingly daily. She made sure we had library cards, and insisted we take regular trips (by city bus for those still not sold on the importance of public transit) to the Richland County Public Library.
By flooding us with books on top of books, Mom set a standard for her children. Not only did we learn to cherish reading, but we were prepared to learn when we entered school.
Reading can be a great equalizer between the child who hails from a family with little means, rarely leaves the house and travels only via the city bus and the child who comes from an affluent family, travels abroad and has wide-ranging cultural experiences. Reading can take a free-lunch student who experts predict will struggle in school and catapult him to a place among the upper percentile of achievers. It expands the mind, builds the vocabulary and shrinks the achievement gap.