Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Lifelong Benefits of Reading
Op-Ed: Getting children the books they need. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 7/18/2011)
Excerpt: Kids need books.
But plenty of kids in Milwaukee are growing up without books, as they are in low-income communities across the nation. In fact, 80% of the preschool and after-school programs serving children in need do not have a single book for the children they serve. In some neighborhoods, there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. (I know - these numbers never fail to shock.)
The fate of children in the least-affluent public schools is not an issue that Milwaukee faces alone. The future of America depends on our investment in the next generation of Americans, and those investments should be made on the basis of each child's potential, not the neighborhood in which they live.
Any parent who has raised a child understands how important books are. Without books of their own, books that can become as dear to them as a favorite toy, children will never become ardent readers. They may learn basic reading skills, but without a genuine love of reading, they will be forever limited - in school, in the workplace and in life.