To whom it may concern…,
I on occasion read to children at the local library. It is always a small group of kids with mom and or, dad, grandma or a chaperon. There is always room for plenty more. The 80 to 90 per cent of empty chairs is an indication of that.
This in turn led me to wonder, why are there so few kids here when the readings are advertised weeks in advance and reminders are constantly posted?
Do the parents know? If they do, are they too busy to take the kids? Do the children even want to go? Perhaps being well read is not as enticing as being well viewed, meaning TV?
Out of nothing more that curiosity with no particular agenda in mind, I decided to Google reading statistics for children.
I made a startling discovery on children’s reading statistics in the U.S. and around the world. What I found out saddens me.
The few of many stats I am about to share with you, I dug up from The American Literacy Council. These facts are for the United States only. If I were to share with you the statistics for the poorer countries in the world, your mind would go into a tailspin.
Did you know that 40 to 45 percent of children never learn to read?
Did you know that 90 percent of children who cannot read at the ninth grade level dropout?
Did you know that in 2003, adults in the U.S. (who were once kids and are now parents) were tested for their reading proficiency and 87 percent were recorded as feeble. How sad is that?
I could easily fill documents with a serious number of more facts and statistics. Facts like where children end up as adults due to dropping out and being illiterate. But you already know their destiny.
You know why the prisons are full, why the poverty level in the U.S., the richest country in the world is deplorable. You know because you can see it and you read about it.
You and I have the ability to improve our minds our bodies our souls and our whole lives with the written word. We can read.
What if you couldn’t read? What if you were looking for a job where you can thrive and grow and become all you can be but you couldn’t find one because you are illiterate! You can’t get past your name and address on the application?
What kind of future would be in store for you at that rate? I shudder to think of myself in that situation.
Now think about this. What if that was your child in those shoes, your niece, nephew, grandchild, friend’s child, or any child at all. What would you do? I would certainly do something about it to help them on their journey so they can march on with confident strides into the future.
Yes, there are so many terrific kids who can read up a storm and they love it. Those kids as they get older graduate to reading the local newspaper and the Huffington Post. Some of them have Blogs and websites. They surf the internet for information that will help them. They read books that broaden their minds and their horizons.
Many of those kids build an enterprise second to none because they got passed the ninth grade. They surged forward into the future with a library of books and a mindful of knowledge to increase their chances.
Do you want to know what the most powerful word in the English language is?
It’s one of those small insignificant words that we all take for granted and use it on a daily basis.
It’s one of those little words that magnifies itself beyond its own boundaries.
It’s a little word that is most powerful when used with real meaning to make something possible through a specific action as a unity.
That little word with a big punch is “Let’s”.
Let’s go to the library. Let’s listen to a story. Let’s read a book. Let’s spell Mississippi. Let’s sing the alphabet!
Let’s go do it, means we walk beside a certain person or persons, we don’t say here’s what you have to do and point the way.
I leave you with a borrowed quote from one of my favorite English novelists and critics of all times, Aldous Huxely… in the hopes that one day you will take a child by the hand and say “Let’s”.
“Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting”.
Author Bio Annette O’Leary-Coggins
Annette O’Leary-Coggins is an Irish Storyteller who volunteers her time reading at schools and libraries strictly for the benefit of the children.
The Author understands the struggles some children have reading. She is an avid promoter of the importance of fun and exciting reading materials at the most imaginative time in a child’s life. http://www.nannyreilly.com