Dr. Seuss said it best: “Oh, the places you’ll go.”
When I was little, my parents rewarded good grades with a trip to the local bookstore. For each positive mark on my report card, I got to choose whatever book I wanted. Time would slip away as I’d roam the book stacks, trying so hard to decide, because I simply wanted so many.
The freedom to choose my own reading material opened new doors to literature I’d never before considered nor experienced, and I fell in love at the very first page.
Childhood reading is why I am a writer today, and yet, I am an exception to the rule. I am a success story, an anomaly.
Child literacy continues to be a real problem amongst American children.
The facts are there in black and white.
But not all stats are good.
And the clincher?
According to ProLiteracy, over 30 million American adults cannot read, write, or complete basic mathematics beyond a third-grade level.
How are we to function as a country when an obscene number of our citizens have poor reading and writing skills? How are we to balance our checkbooks, pay our taxes, perform our jobs and run our businesses? How are we to run our government and secure our country?
Can you imagine the things we could accomplish as a country with higher literacy rates?
It all starts with reading.
It’s already been proven that those children with excellent literacy skills grow to be more successful and affluent adults. Even more encouraging, these statistics tell us that children love reading and embrace the activity but admittedly prefer reading upon their own terms.
It’s us adults that are stopping the progress and ruining their chances for a healthy, productive tomorrow.
Children want that time at the end of the day when that special adult in their lives tucks them in with a bedtime story. It’s an activity as old as time, and a time that children long for, especially after seeing these comforts so intertwined with their favorite movies and programs.
Do your part.
Take the time to read to the children in your life, and promote healthy reading habits through frequent trips to the library or book store. Create a cozy reading nook where your children have the privacy to slip away to magical worlds, and reinforce their reading time by proudly vocalizing your approval not only to friends and family, but most importantly, your children.
If you do not have any children in your life, volunteer. Donate, financially or with books, or best yet, your time. Take the time to share your favorites with this new generation in order to make a better tomorrow.
Choose to invest in our future.
The power is in your hands and in those familiar pages of black and white.
After all, Dr. Seuss said it best: “Oh, the places you’ll go.”
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