The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

February 14, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Friday, February 14, 2013

Lack of books is why children fail in school

I was watching the news and it was talking about how children are reading at a lower level than 10 years ago. Plus reading skills went down as incomes dropped. As an avid reader and a mother to a 2-year-old, I sat and thought and worried away. I was an English education major in college. I have always had a fondness for books.

When you ask book lovers why they love them, you usually get it transports us to another place, gives an escape or I just do. Deep down, I think that readers live through the characters and to us, the authors and characters are forever immortal.

How can you instill something so wondrous and fun in a child? And why do they seem to be below par?

After my son went to sleep, I searched and searched for an answer. I found that a huge percentage of households in America don’t buy a single book in one year and that a very high percentage of high school graduates never read another book after graduation. I was shocked and sad.

I posted a conversation on Facebook about the issue. I got several responses about poor teachers and school systems. That didn’t make sense to me since Concord University is a very nice school for education majors. I don’t think it’s the teachers, but lies more with the parents.

I looked up early education in reading and found that it needs to start in the home, not in school. I think it is common sense that reading to your kids is beneficial to their minds. Then I thought back to that figure about households that don’t buy books.

Then I thought back to my son’s first book, “Biscuit the Yellow Puppy,” and how I actually barked when it said “Woof! Woof!” Tips are all over the Internet on how to get your children to read, but I think the most important is make it fun.

One tip that stood out said that as children start to learn to read, parents slack off on reading to them out loud, but the children’s minds crave story lines and plots that are beyond their own set of skills. That’s the moment when a child loses interest because the books they want to hear are too difficult for them to read on their own.

Books are pricey and I know that in Beckley we have no bookstores, but I urge parents to buy books from yard sales, go to the library, and don’t forget Ollie’s has a wonderful selection of books that are cheap.

Please read to your kids as long as they let you. Don’t let your child become a negative number. Lay off on toys because books are a gift that keeps on giving. Make if fun, take turns, help each other improve, and get closer in the evenings.

A love of reading is so much more than black words on white paper. It is a tool for the future.

Brittany Perry


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