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March: National Reading Month

March 6, 2012
The Daily News

This month is the anniversary of Theodor Geisel's birth.

He was born on March 2, 1904 - 108 years ago - and touched the lives of millions of Americans.

Theodor Geisel authored many great books. They're still enjoyed across the land.

He wrote under the famous pen name - Dr. Seuss.

In March, the nation celebrates this great man, and the lessons he left behind.

March is National Reading Month. What an appropriate celebration.

Locally, students throughout the area are celebrating reading by participating in the Reading Olympics.

The first Reading Olympics was started at Iron Mountain Central School in 1995-96.

Because of its success, officials decided to expand the program to include neighboring schools as well.

Today, participating schools include Breitung Township, Iron Mountain, Norway, North Dickinson, Bishop Baraga, Holy Spirit, North Central and Florence, Wis.

This is an event where everyone comes out a winner. Students learn to read exciting books for fun, and are rewarded for their efforts.

Besides the sheer joy of it, reading pays huge benefits.

According to literacy experts, parents who read aloud to their children give them a lifelong gift.

Children love to hear the rhythm, and the cadence of the of words.

The stories come to life in their eyes.

Once begun, reading aloud becomes as addictive to the reader as it is to the youngster.

Experts say reading aloud has other huge benefits, including:

- Reading aloud encourages children to associate reading and books with warm, secure feelings. When children link reading with pleasure, they are likely to read more and become better readers.

- It expands children's language development. They listen to the sounds of words, learn new vocabulary, and expand thinking skills while discussing characters and stories.

- It introduces children to different kinds of writing. Children begin to learn how an author chooses a style and words to convey a message or create an image.

- Reading aloud can motivate reluctant older readers to discover that reading is fun and leads to interesting, useful information.

- It lays the groundwork for improved communications between parents and children.

Other facts about literacy:

- Correctional Education. Prisoners generally have significantly lower literacy skills than the general population. Those who improve their skills are less likely to return to prison.

- Libraries and Literacy. Libraries are a fundamental cornerstone of knowledge and information easily accessible in virtually every community. Libraries offer free access to a wealth of books, computers, and videotapes, and provide a comfortable environment conducive to learning.

- Literacy and Welfare. Improving basic education and literacy skills can be the key to long-term self-sufficiency for welfare recipients.

- Workforce Literacy. In order to stay competitive in the global economy, employers need workers who can read, write, compute, solve problems, and communicate well.

Economic Impact of Illiteracy

- Studies indicate that illiteracy has a significant impact on the economy. It is estimated that as many as 15 million adults holding jobs today are functionally illiterate.

Studies have found that business losses attribute to basic skill deficiencies run into the hundreds of millions of dollars because of low productivity, errors and accidents. The Department of Education has estimated that 60 percent of the unemployed lack the basic skills necessary to be trained for high-tech jobs.

Reasons for Adult Illiteracy

The reasons are as varied as the number of non-readers. The adult non-reader may have left school early, may have had a physical or emotional disability, may have had ineffective teachers or simply may have been unready to learn at the time reading instruction began.

Because they are unable to help their children learn, parents who can't read often perpetuate the inter-generational cycle of illiteracy.

Without books, newspapers or magazines in the home and a parent who reads to serve as a role model, many children grow up with severe literacy deficiencies.

Clearly, reading can be a key to the world.

Remember, readers are leaders.

 
 

 

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