This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, April 18, 1990

April 18, 1990 - Read to your children

The cure for adult illiteracy is tough. For the adult with a reading problem, it takes a lot of courage to come forward. For student and tutor both, it takes time, energy and patience. Helping adults learn to read is hard, important work.

But it should never come to that. Far better than the cure for illiteracy -- years late and often after devastating personal trauma -- would be its prevention.

There is a very simple way to make sure that your child learns to read. This is something only literate parents can do, and something they should be proud to do.

This powerful teaching technique is not only easy, it's fun. It doesn't cost anything. You can do it in the privacy of your own home.

If you want your kids to read, read to them.

Children learn by imitation. Do you watch a lot of television? Okay, they can learn to do that. The two of you can sit there in the living room and enjoy some quiet companionship. Of course, there won't be a lot of engagement between you. As entertainment goes, it's maybe a little passive.

But if you read to them, if you've got a really exciting story that they can tell you're keen to stick with, then they'll stick with you. And the questions they ask later will amaze you.

I think we all have the secret desire to be great actors and teachers. A rapt, attentive, questioning child can make you feel like a cross between Laurence Olivier and Socrates.

As for the child -- he or she can hardly wait to learn how to interpret all those squiggles on the page. Every night you read to your child you set an example. You share precious time and active expression. The desire to read takes root in that young, eager mind and grows.

Will these children learn how to read? Try to stop them! These are the children teachers treasure -- kids who just know reading is going to be fun and when do we start?

No matter how old you or your children are, the right time to start reading to each other -- is NOW.

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