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  • Writer's pictureLaFredrick Smith


As I was scrolling through Facebook last night, Dr. Steve Perry made a post that literally kept me from sleeping. His post stated “Name a bigger issue than our kids not knowing how to read well (some cases at all) which directly affects their future… I’ll wait…”!

As I sat there thinking about that statement, I though about many issues… state standardized testing… mathematics… science… poverty… home situations… but one common factor that I realized with all of those issues was that many of them can be fixed, changed, or overcome by simply knowing how to read.

My mind went all the way back to my Dr. Seuss days, “the more you read, the more things you know, the more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” I thought back to when I was kid and my mother would buy books and make us read. I remember how that’s when I first learned about different places, different professions, etc. Through reading, I was able to take myself out of my home situations and have dreams and goals to do more and become more. I was able to break a generational curse, all through the power of the words from books that I read when I was in elementary school.

As I write this post today, I don’t have any tips or suggestions for you. I just want everyone to “STAY WOKE” about literacy, just as we are about other things!

· On the 2017 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR), 52% of our students did MEET grade level standards.

· On the 2017 STAAR, 65% of our African American students did not MEET grade level standards.

· 60% of Houston area children enter kindergarten each year lacking requisite reading skills.

· Children who do not read on level by the end of Grade 3 have only a 1 in 8 chance of ever catching up and are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.

· Having books in the home results in children reading more often and for longer lengths of time.

· 90% of kids ages 6 to 17 say they are more likely to finish a book they have picked out themselves.

As you look through these statistics and facts, I hope your eyes widened just as much as mine did. I hope you went into serious thought about literacy just as I did. I hope you got angry, sad, and disappointed just as I did. I hope a fire sparked in you to make a change, just as it did in me.

We are all reading teachers; parents, aunts, uncles, principals, counselors, nurses, math teachers, science teachers, etc. Just as it takes a village to raise a child… it’s going to take a village to raise these literacy rates. We must all work together to set our kids up for success.

I’m ending this post with a challenge for everyone out there:

Find ONE thing you can do this year to promote literacy in your community.



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