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Our View: Reading into the future

— Walk into a bookstore, and more than likely, you will read the following quote.

It reads like this: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

Ditto for the person who has the mind to read, but lacks the ability to do so.

OK, perhaps it’s a little strong to say a person who cannot or has limited ability to read doesn’t have a soul, but certainly that person is going to have a limited future.

And what can we read into our future?

Look at the statistics:

According to the Institute of Education Sciences Web site, 38 percent of fourth-graders nationwide cannot read at a basic level – they cannot read and understand a simple paragraph from an age-appropriate children’s book.

Furthermore, if children turn into adults with limited reading skills, “they suffer disproportionately from social ills such as delinquency and drug abuse. Their job prospects are limited,” according to the Institute.

Learning to read isn’t a mere formality or simply fundamental. With the ever-changing world and the expansion of the Internet, it is the future as much as it has been our past.

This is why last week’s Family Literature Carnival at the Moffat County High School is such a great event. It’s purpose: encouraging youths to read and encouraging parents and guardians to push the youths to read.

The event coordinators and organizers should be loudly applauded for their efforts to encourage the love of the printed word.

Here is one more suggestion: The best way to get turned on to reading is to turn off the television.

According to The Sourcebook for Teaching Science Web site,a child spends 1,680 minutes watching television per week.

Conversely, the average adult spends 3.5 minutes per week “having a meaningful conversation” with his or her child, according to the Web site.

A discussion about a book that parent and child are reading is a possible way to stimulate that conversation, perhaps more than reality television shows such as “Celebrity Rehab” or “Hogan Knows Best.”

Is reading the answer to all of the world’s problems?

No, not entirely.

But it could certainly be an effective tool and create more opportunities for youths entering a world more and more dependent on the Internet.

And that means reading.

After all, it’s not fundamental. It’s the future.


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