01/28/09 — Not just pirates: Wayne County Reads effort about more than fun

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Not just pirates: Wayne County Reads effort about more than fun

A swashbuckling tale about pirates and a play called "Hot Grog" -- how could that be anything except a chance for Wayne County residents to enjoy themselves.

And the 2009 Wayne County Reads effort is that -- a chance to have a little fun and to learn something at the same time.

But there really is a whole lot more to this project than simply the chance to get more people to open up books and to get together to talk about them -- although that is the byproduct that the many organizers hope will result at the end of the more-than-a-month-long event.

In this digital age, there are many people -- young people in particular -- who simply don't see the need to sit down with a novel or nonfiction book.

After all, to quote a famous movie line -- "If it is any good, they will make it into a miniseries" many people think.

Too busy is the excuse we use.

The consequence is that many of our children have lost their thirst to read -- and have defaulted to videos and video games -- at the expense of their vocabularies and their imaginations.

Wayne County Reads is a chance for us to remind ourselves of the joy that can be found in a book -- and to model that behavior for our children.

So, go out and get yourself a copy of "Blackbeard" and prepare to head back into the days of pirates and pillage. And, if you feel so inclined, get a stuffed parrot to get yourself into the mood.

But as you do, take your children down to the library, get them library cards and have them each pick out a book to read along with you. Make it a family project -- and make sure you talk about what you are reading.

And if you can find the time, volunteer an hour to go to a preschool or elementary classroom and participate in storytime. Bring along your favorite childhood book to read -- and maybe a few to give away. You just might open the door for a child to see just how much fun it is to open a book.

There has been much talk lately about improving education and test scores in Wayne County. Getting children to the point where they can master reading, enjoy it and seek more knowledge using the skill are critical components toward achieving that goal.

Books really do open doors both to good grades and careers. February and March are our months to set a few more young people on that path to success.

Published in Editorials on January 28, 2009 11:23 AM