Writer’s Name: Charlotte Marshall Templeman
Title: Is Reading Fundamental?
John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary School. I used to love to line up in the classroom and walk down the two flights of stairs to my favorite part of the school, the library. Each week we were fortunate enough to visit the library and check out our favorite book. “The Cat in the Hat”, “Goodnight Moon”, and “Green Eggs and Ham” were just a few of the books I rushed to weekly to check out. I would remove the library card from the back of the book and proudly sign my name. The librarian would give me a smile as she stamped the return date on the book and handed it to me. I was excited. For a week this was my book to read as often as I liked. That made me happy. Besides being able to check out a book and congregate with my classmates, we were given the special treat of having books read to us. We would all sit on the carpeted floor, huddled together, listening to the words of some of the greatest books come to life. In one day we were able to go on a train ride across the world, or on a visit to an exotic zoo in another land and even possibly meet a rabbit and an evil queen who lived down a big long hole in the ground which led to another dimension. It excited us and we left the library with our imaginations soaring and longing for more. The power of reading engaged us.
My love of reading not only started in school but it was also encouraged at home. The saying, “parents are their child’s first teacher” rang true in our household. Reading was a normal part of our lives and we embraced it as such. We learned that reading not only entertained us but it also educated us. Knowing how to read allowed us to do well in school and it was the catalyst for our success as adults. It was understood that reading was and is an important facet of life which is used in our everyday lives.
In today’s society of technological advances, reading has become scarce to the younger generation. With the sudden rise in devices such as IPods, Nintendo DS, play station, Xbox 360, cell phones and the social media networks, children are putting down their books and picking up these gadgets. Because of this we have an alarming high number of students who are not reading on their grade level. Test scores in reading in some schools are decreasing even further and children are graduating without the essential tools to even fill out a job application. You may ask, “Whose fault is this?” Placing the blame on others will not help our children learn to read or perhaps read more, but as a society we all have a responsibility to alleviate the problem. As stated earlier, parents are their child’s first teacher. Children do as they see. If households make reading a priority it will become an everyday part of a child’s life. They will not only read for school assignments but for enjoyment as well. Every school needs to take part in the 100 book challenge and set aside time for students to read. The 100 book challenge is a program where children read and record the 100 books they’ve read. Prizes at each level are usually given.
Lastly our communities should offer reading time at the recreational centers, libraries, and churches. I’m sure there may be some communities and schools doing these things and for those that aren’t they need to get on board.
Reading is important to all stages of life because it empowers the individual. Throughout our daily walk we are engaging in reading. It may be a menu at a restaurant, directions to a destination, or the recipe for our favorite meal. However you look at it, reading is fundamental to our lives. Education is power and independence, and knowing how to read gives us those traits. Reading not only empowers the mind but it empowers the soul. It gives the individual a positive sense of self-worth and confidence. Because reading is so important we owe it to our children to have them turn off the television and pick up a book. You never know what wonders await them; aren’t they important enough to us to find out? When you encourage reading you open a child’s mind to endless possibilities of what they can become and achieve. All children are worthy of that beginning in life. Let’s give it to them. Because of my early introduction to reading as a child I became an author. Without that beginning my life may have taken a different turn. Let’s give our children a chance at the right turn. Encourage reading!