11/02/11 — Reading dilemma: Want better scores? Make it a priority at home, too.

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Reading dilemma: Want better scores? Make it a priority at home, too.

It is not really good news that North Carolina students are only inches better in reading -- and right around the national average.

And, as usual, there will be a chorus of criticism against the state's schools and teachers because of the news.

But here's the truth -- and it will not be easy for some people to hear.

If you want to increase your child's reading ability and you want to see better overall grades because of that increased proficiency, you have to emphasize reading at home.

That means that the video games are stowed and the television is off for a certain amount of time each day -- every day, no matter what.

And, instead of watching the movie, your children will read the book instead.

It is age-old advice. It has been proven over and over again that children whose parents read to them -- and those who are forced or encouraged to develop reading habits while they are young -- do better in school.

It makes sense, really. How can you excel at math if you cannot read and understand the word problems -- or the explanation of how to solve a problem? How can you understand history if you struggle with the concepts and words in the textbooks?

The truth is, reading is the basis for everything, and a key to a successful future.

So while we should continue to emphasize reading instruction, to make an impact on scores and futures, we have to have a unified message -- reading is fun, educational and a priority.

And then we should all head over to the library.

Published in Editorials on November 2, 2011 10:23 AM