Editorial: Encourage kids of all ages to read

Published 9:44 am Monday, June 27, 2011

Why do teenagers and elementary-aged children need help with reading?

Why does the education of these age groups get overlooked?

One of the overall problems in the education system is the student ability to read and comprehend course materials. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education released the latest statistics citing only 30 percent of eighth-graders in large cities scored at a proficient level in these categories.

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The educational system in America seems to be more interested in how many children they can have graduate, rather than the quality of their education.

It is a simple matter of quantity over quality.

There is a perfectly good generation of scholars, politicians, foremans and skilled laborers who are being educated on a conveyor belt that doesn’t have any scheduled slow-downs or stops.

If you miss something, too bad. If you don’t understand it, hopefully you’ll pick it up as the belt moves along.

If you don’t pick the material up, please gracefully slide your way to the back of the classroom and skate through school directly to the unemployment line.

What can we do?

Step 1: Unplug the Playstation 3, the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii and all of the other video games, or at least limit their use.

Step 2: Help children and teens understand what they’re reading by going over things with them.

Step 3: When all else fails, take them to 211 E. Clark Street — the library.

It is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Let your children indulge themselves in a world of learning and tall tales. Thirteen and 17-year-olds who read for fun are more likely to score higher on reading proficiency exams than those who don’t.

But the problem is that 24 percent of the 17-year-olds surveyed never or hardly ever read for fun.

Don’t be satisfied that your child can score on the basic level of reading proficiency; help them achieve more. Get them to pick up a book or take the time to show them around the library.

After all, they are the next generation to lead this country.

Shouldn’t somebody be concerned?