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Reading is more important today than ever

June 8, 2015

The skill of reading is more important today than ever before. Our digital lives demand literacy (of two kinds—the ability to read, as well as “information literacy,” a topic for another column).

A picture is worth a thousand words … or the few that pop up when you hover your cursor over an icon—words necessary because the icon is often indecipherable.

You can’t go very far in the digital world without the ability to read, and all the better to be able to read well. The online world is a Wild West of inaccuracy and dubious intentions. However, reading is not primarily self-defense.

Reading provides access to many of our culture’s riches, and it is a skill that takes a long time to perfect. And so, every summer the library runs a Summer Reading Program to help children continue reading between their school years.

Summer reading programs are proven to prevent backsliding in reading skills so students start school again where they left off. Our program started a week ago, running from June 1st to July 30th , but children can sign up any time (until some date near the end). There are few rules; it’s easy to participate.

Children from age two through those just completing 6th grade are eligible. Books are checked out from the library and read at home. Readers earn one point per page (pages they have read or that have been read to them).

Readers are asked to read at their reading level to keep the program fair and enjoyable for everyone. The points can be used to “purchase” prizes from the summer reading store.

Also, Storytime continues on Wednesdays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. For the summer, weather permitting, Storytime will alternate between the library and Alpine Park.

As with riding a bicycle or a horse, to go far you need to spend time in the saddle to toughen up. Reading lots of books is how children develop vocabulary, improve comprehension, and exercise their imaginations to become perceptive readers.

For most people, reading a lot of books requires using a public library. I like to own books, but I don’t own every book I read. Having books in the home is a successful incentive to encourage reading.

Through the Salida Regional Library, you actually have ready access to millions of books. Another good way to surround children with books is through The Imagination Library, sponsored locally by the Salida Sunrise Rotary.

With this program children from birth to age five can have a free book mailed to them every month. The library has more information in the children’s room.

Surrounding children with books can fire their imaginations as well as let them practice painlessly to become competent readers and thinkers.

They will need this, believe me, even just to read the instructions on a new washing machine. Because of my aversion to shopping, I just picked the cheapest Kenmore on sale that still had knobs for controls.

But knobs mean nothing. I can’t set the water level or adjust wash times except through euphemistic settings such as “deep wash,” “bulky/bedding,” “heavy duty,” “normal,” “casual,” etc.

The washer senses the load and decides how much water to add. The lid locks under operation, so I can’t see. A complicated matrix describes the settings, but not all options apply to every model, such as mine.

This summer, gather your children and read them stories about going down the rabbit hole. I bet they’ll understand.


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One Comment
  1. Yes. Well said.

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