Kids and Books
By Cait Collins
I’ve really tried to keep causes out of my blogs, but I hope you will indulge me this week. I realize times have changed, but as we see academic scores dropping and kids having trouble excelling in school, I have come to believe we have an issue with reading. I see kids being held back in school because their reading skills are not where they should be. They are not dumb children; they simply can’t read well.
I grew up in an environment where reading was encouraged. My folks bought the Grolier Encyclopedia, Book of Knowledge, and ChildCraft for us. They bought the books on a payment plan because they wanted us to have easy access to information. I remember Mom or Dad gathering us in the big chair and reading to us. As I got older and could read on my own, I would spend hours reading and studying these volumes.
These days books are not always present in the home. Often the family budget does not stretch to purchasing books. And if parents are not readers, it could be difficult for a child to see the need to read. Unfortunately, the child suffers because the inability to read well slows the learning process. For this reason, I support efforts to get books into a child’s hands.
One of my favorite programs is Toys for Tots. Every Christmas, the Barnes and Noble Store in Amarillo selects books for kids of all ages. The titles are suggestions for customers who wish to purchase books for the toy drive. Or the patrons may prefer to browse the shelves for some of their childhood favorites. Book donations are also accepted by the Evelyn Richards Foundation, a local charitable group that works to provide coats and Christmas for children in our area. It may not seem like a big deal to those of us who grew up reading, but giving a child a book of his own may be the beginning of new adventures and better learning opportunities.
Why not volunteer for Story Hour at your local library or bookstore? Maybe we could mentor in the local schools. As writers, we should be at the forefront of supporting efforts to put books in the home and in schools. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but at least we can make an inroad in our corner of it.