No skill is more important to success in life than reading.
After centuries of learning and after all the changes in education brought about by technology and new teaching methods, nothing will put your child on the road to success like the love of reading.
The obvious advantage is in classroom performance. Students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school, according to the study Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation by Donald Hernandez, a professor at City University of New York.
The study was cited by Ohio Governor John Kasich when he unveiled The Third Grade Guarantee, a state program to identify and provide services for kids who lag in reading skills. Under the program, kids who cannot read at grade level cannot advance to fourth grade, although they will be able to take fourth-grade classes in other subjects.
The guarantee calls for testing and intervention starting in kindergarten.
While it’s too early to assess the impact of Gov. Kasich’s initiative, the need is dire. According to The Nation’s Report Card, only 34 percent of Ohio fourth graders read at grade level.
If your child is one of the 34 percent, he or she has a much better chance of landing a good job leading to a higher quality of life.
Many of those jobs are not jobs in which you are strapped to a machine doing mindless work, or where your work is routinely supervised. Today, more people work at home, or on the road. This trend coupled with the purge of middle managers due to the Big Recession means there is less supervision. The worker who will get ahead is one who shows initiative and keeps abreast of technological and educational advancements in his or her field on his or her own. Those who develop logical thinking skills, can read quickly and grasp abstract concepts will have an edge. Furthermore, you are more likely to switch jobs or careers than your parents, thus learning how to learn on your own to prepare for those changes is an indispensible asset.
Success in the workplace typically translates into increased revenue and adequate revenue is important in building a stable family. Fighting over family finances is one of the leading causes of divorce.
There are two ways to improve your financial situation at home: earn more or spend less. My love of reading comes from my French mother, who read to learn the language and help seven kids with homework, and a father who read magazines and manuals to build the house and repair the cars and appliances. These are real-world examples of how reading can help someone better their family situation.
I too have used books, manuals and the Internet to trouble-shoot a washing machine, a car, a garage door opener and to calculate the payback on home refinancing and adding insulation to the house.
I have also been an avid reader of newspapers since, as a young teen, I saw my father throw his newspaper against the French doors in anger about what government was doing. Consider what you learned by reading the last two issues of The Press: You now know about 450 construction jobs coming to Oregon; you now know how to access a levy estimator to calculate how much the senior services levy in Oregon will cost you before you vote; you now know what your neighbors think about the bond issue to build new schools in Northwood; and you now know the latest in the saga about the demolition of the Woodville Mall.
You have also read inspiring stories such as the one about the Cardinal Stritch grad who started his career mopping floors at Burger King and is now the CEO of a company with 223 restaurants. And, you now know how man is saving from extinction the endangered Whooping Crane by teaching it how to fly south by following an ultralight.
In each of the last two issues of The Press you would have been exposed to more than 450 ads promoting products and services that help you save money and improve your quality of life.
You miss out on all of this if you do not have a love of reading.
Today, with the Internet, you now have the world’s knowledge at your fingertips. You can discover new worlds and new ways of thinking. You can use it to help form your beliefs and your code of honor. You can gain insight into how your mind works, how to read people, how to communicate and how to parent.
Reading can also be fun and relaxing. However, it is work. And, this is where you, as a parent, come in; studies have shown that kids tend not to read if their parents don’t read.
Reading is the least expensive, most effective skill you can help your child develop. Don’t wait to see how effective the new state program will be to assure your child will have an edge when it comes to competing for employment. Read and read to them.