Editor, I have been very pleased to see your series on recent efforts to get parents involved with teaching their kids to read. Learning to read perhaps is the most important skill anyone can learn, as it opens the door to a virtual wealth of knowledge.
My parents were very involved in reading to me and my four younger brothers when we were growing up. They also made it a priority to have books in our house so that we always had the opportunity to read a variety of things at all times. And they took us to the library as soon as we were old enough to go so we had all the resources of that wonderful place available to us. We took advantage of that often.
I quickly discovered a love of language and the many exciting things available in books. Adventure, history, science fiction — the entire world is available to anyone who reads.
A history professor of mine at the University of Georgia once told the class that the most important invention in the history of the world was Johann Gutenberg’s printing press because it made available to millions of people the thinking and discoveries of a few. He was right. No other invention has advanced the spread of knowledge as much as that one
Rotary clubs across Georgia have partnered with the Ferst Foundation and Dolly Parton to bring books into the lives of families with small children on a regular basis. Research has shown that parents who read to children when they are small help them learn to read. Those children then start school with a leg up, so to speak. They catch on more quickly and generally do much better in school than those who don’t have that advantage.
If you can read, the world is open to you! Your life can be fuller, richer and deeper. I encourage all parents to take the time to read to their children when they are little and to encourage them to expand their vocabularies and reading skills as they grow older. They will reap enormous dividends in doing so.
— Rafe Semmes