2012-03-07 / Opinions & Letters

Opening doors to reading practice

Learning to read is like learning any other skill. First you learn the skill, and then you need lots of practice to improve. Indiana schools certainly do emphasize reading skills and encourage reading practice, but additional practice is needed when school is not in session.

If you’re looking for a guaranteed way to increase your children’s reading skills, look no farther than your local public library. A priceless gift waits just beyond the door. No, it’s not unlimited free WiFi. It’s a free public library card.

With a library card, children can practice reading skills as they embark on myriad adventures within the pages of hundreds of books. Since many Indiana children do not have public library cards, schools and PTAs should set goals to inform parents about how to obtain them and then make the best use of library cards for their children.

A second invaluable resource to increase reading practice is already delivered to thousands of doorsteps every morning. Yes, the newspaper is a treasure trove. Encouraging children to read the newspaper and discuss local, national and international events with their families is another way to sharpen reading skills.

When I was in seventh grade, my school had no library. My teacher, Miss Litzenberger, took me to the public library with her one day to select books for our room library. I have never forgotten her or how she opened a door to the public library for me.

Let’s ensure that all our children have a door to reading opened for them, too.

Jack Humphrey

Former director, Middle

Grades Reading Network

(funded by the

Lilly Endowment)

President, Indiana Newspaper in Education Foundation

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