Growing up in the impoverished South Bronx area of New York City, the many books I read easily became my safe haven. I was more than willing to get lost in the pages, rather than join the other children on the drug plagued playgrounds. Reading allowed me to travel into lands unknown and gave me an air of excitement that I openly shared through writing and conversation.
Just as it was back then, reading does not always seem like the cool thing to do for many children. When a child is always inside of a book, whether it be educational or recreational, they are not looked at as popular or cool by the other children. Although it should start in the younger years, every age group should read more independently as well as socially, because reading is the key to strengthening literacy skills. One’s quality of life heavily depends on it.
According to National Center for Education Statistics, literacy is the ability to use print and written information to function in society, in order to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. As we all know, poor literacy rates have a domino effect on the American culture in present and future times. Forecasts predict that if static literacy levels continue, then by 2030 the entire Literacy Level distribution of the U.S. population will have decreased, creating an American workforce that is unequipped and unskilled to work in the demanding global market.
Presence and profit are two important premises that make America a major player in the global business scope. However, an adequate education is mostly unheard of in our public school systems. School closings, poor teacher retention and lack of resources are eating away at the core of society little by little. Urging people to continue their education is a start in the right direction. Unfortunately, a bachelor’s degree does not hold as much weight in the workforce as it did many years ago.
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has predicted that by 2018, 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some post secondary education. There will be a need for 22 million workers with post secondary degrees. Sadly enough, the report also shows that we will fall short by 3 million if there is not a dramatic change and that means 300,000 less college graduates in the next 7 years.
NPR contributor Maude Newton hit the nail on the head when she stated, “I’m not invested in how people read, it only matters that they read.” With social media weighing heavily on how books are written and published, it would only be fit that that we take these strategies into our classrooms.
Instead of sitting back and watching it fly, the technological wave should be taken advantage of in all aspects of education. By using modern technologies such as the Nook and Kindle, books not only become attractive, but more interactive. Laptops in the classroom was only the beginning of ensuring students were equipped with more than enough learning resources and skills to strive in society.
The phrase “Reading is fundamental” has been played over and over again, like a broken record. However, that does not take from its meaning and virtue. The promotion of books, whether it be hard cover or touch screen, is the key to developing the desire for success and self-assurance within our youth. Reading is a universal language that everyone should speak. It knows no boundaries and we should make sure that like every child, no book is left behind.
Photography by Que Duong
Styled by Marc Clark
Make up by La Quanna Chong