Friday, July 30, 2010

Reading is "Fun"damental!

54% of African American fourth graders read below grade level. – National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2007 Reading Assessment
My mother reads a lot. I think she can actually sleep in a twin bed because one-half of her queen-sized bed is always full of books, magazines and newspapers. Because I followed her example, naturally I'm a reader. There's no way I could have grown into a writer without being a good reader first. People harp on the importance of math and science, but reading and writing skills are equally important. I admit I don’t love math but I can pull out a calculator or ten fingers and get by. There’s no calculator for reading and writing.

Lack of income or education is no excuse for our children to lack basic reading skills. Slaves risked severe punishment if caught learning to read. Reading for slaves meant knowledge and freedom. Slave masters knew that a literate slave was a dangerous slave. Because too many of us lack knowledge of our history and the struggles of those before us, we take the freedom of reading for granted.
Studies of individual families show that what they do to support literacy in the home is more important to student success than family income or education (Ballen & Moles, 1994).
Today even the media are too lazy to do their own research. That’s why this fiasco between Shirley Sherrod and the United States Department of Agriculture went down. No one bothered to research whether she was guilty of the words she was accused. Journalists with years of experience and a whole lot of “should’ve known damn better because they learned this crap in Journalism 101” took the words of one and ran with it. A little research would’ve prevented this uproar.

If you bring a child into this world, you are responsible for putting the time into their development. Their success in the classroom is dependent on your efforts to teach them as much as possible in their formative years.

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is the oldest and largest children's and family nonprofit literacy organization in the United States. For more information on how you can help your child with their reading skills, visit


  1. Another A+ post. I am happy that Karriem and I are parents who preach to the kids how important reading and writing are. We have them on a 3 to 1 reading schedule meaning that for every 3 hours or entertainment/television/outside recreation they get they have to devote 1 hour to reading. We read so much that Jerel brinng books to us, sits down, and says "book, read, Mommy/Daddy, read!"

    When kids know how to read they can then, develop their writing and oral communication skills. That, in turn, will give them a better chance at being successful in school and beyond.

    It saddens and pisses me off when I read some of the comments that people leave on Facebook, Twitter, et al. They are so grammatically incorrect that I want to take a red pen to some of them. And don't get me started with the ones who use symbols and numbers in the place of letters. BURNS ME UP! I told my kids that if I catch them doing that they will have to write an entire paper using the symbols/numbers and then rewrite it correctly.

    I know that Karriem and I can be strict when it comes to education, but if we aren't who else is going to. Our 14 year old reads and writes on a 4th grade level and the school system just pushed him right along. His mother took no interest in his education and now he is behind as a result.

    This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart so I am going to force myself to stop now before I write a novel. Thanks for the post again, Roz. I'll be looking forward to the next one!

  2. I happen to aggree you with you on the importance of reading. I think that all too many times parents do not take the time to read to their kids or instill in them the importance of reading. Especially among boys all too many times they are too afraid to be caught with a book reading because of peer pressure. If you expose that kid to reading when they are young they will later appreciate reading when they grow up. What is amazing is that there are new technologies that will make reading fun for kids. Things like amazon's kindle and bn's nook all provide easy access to books for those who can afford it. The new technology will create and interactive reading experience that can make reading fun. There are those who will argue that they will only read the printed book. That is fine as long publishers do not neglect the publishing of the printed text. Public libraries are an important place to introduce children to reading. As taxpayer's it is your duty as a citizen to make use of the library especially in this tough economy. So why not make use of the free services that libraries provide? That is the lending of free books for their residents. So encourage your kids to use the library before the state and local govt's cut the services to libraries.

    Good luck on your pursuit in becoming a librarian! You will not regret it.