Reading is the heart of education
By Cindy Kitzrow, Cannonsburg Principal
& Director of Library & Media Services
In a survey thousands of Americans were asked, “What do you think is the most pressing social issue affecting our children’s future? Illiteracy ranked as the #1 issue. The survey went on to say that 51% of the population considers reading the most important skill in a child’s development.
Research has proven that children can learn to understand and love reading if they are engaged in what they read. Essentially, the study shows that thoughtful, proficient readers make connections, draw upon prior knowledge, create visual imagery, make inferences, ask questions, determine important ideas, and synthesize what they read.
As parents and educators we need to ask ourselves some important questions about what we need to do to create proficient readers. We must first understand a few basic principals about reading:
What is Literacy?
Literate: Is one who is able to read and write. One must be able to read the word problem in math in order to understand it.
If you cannot read the science or social studies chapter, you cannot answer the questions.
The complicated computer manual is essential to its operation, but it must be read.
One can arguably state: reading is the single most important social factor in American life today.
The educator’s objective should be to create lifetime readers and graduates who continue to read and educate themselves throughout their adult lives.
How do you get better at reading? Two-part formula:
The more you read, the better you get at it: the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it.
The more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow. (New Read Aloud Book by Jim Trelease)
What is Information Literacy?
The ability to access, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources for problem solving, decision-making and research.
The rise of information technology in our society has shown us educators need to produce thinkers who can work.
Teachers and students are faced with the explosion of information technology. They need guidance in accessing, evaluating and using information in effective and ethical ways.
We develop life-long learners by teaching information literacy. Helping students become information literate involves teaching students HOW to learn; how knowledge is organized, how to find information, how to use the information to answer any question or solve a problem. Students will become prepared for lifelong learning because they can find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.
The goal of the parents and educators must be to invest in our children’s future. We can instill the love of reading by communicating our own passion for reading. We must tell children about the books we love. We must show them how much reading means to us by being a good role model. Remember the old saying “Your walk talks a lot louder than your talk talks.