06/03/10 — Try anything: Reading program would help more kids. But so would shutting off TV.

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Try anything: Reading program would help more kids. But so would shutting off TV.

It is a critical skill really -- and one that is disappearing off the American landscape.

Children just do not seem to be all that interested in reading anymore.

The whole problem started with television and is being exacerbated now by video games and iPods.

And as much as some people might think that the move away from books is a sign of the change of generations and the arrival of the digital age, the truth is that we have to do something to get more children interested in reading again. It is a skill, like the ability to add a sum of numbers, they cannot do without.

Efforts like the reading dog program at Meadow Lane Elementary School are valuable tools when it comes to capturing a child's interest in books. And more programs like this should be used and developed across the county.

But parents should understand that even though the world is changing, the students who have reading skills, who can write a coherent English sentence and who can communicate effectively, are going to be the most in demand and the most likely to get a job no matter which field they choose.

Even technical careers require these basic skills.

So as we are planning for how to improve schools in Wayne County, perhaps we should be thinking a little more about how to keep children interested in books and developing their ability to use the English language. Progress has been made, but the trick is keeping the achievement going.

And while we are at it, perhaps we need to think more about turning off that TV and putting more of a limit on video games and other distractions at home.

If parents join the fight, pretty soon, there will be more children getting better grades and higher test scores. And that is certainly worth enduring a little pouting when the TV gets switched off or the Nintendo goes dark.

Published in Editorials on June 3, 2010 10:26 AM