Duarte column: Reading is the key, but it takes dedication | PostIndependent.com

Duarte column: Reading is the key, but it takes dedication

Eloisa Duarte


Lea esto en Español.

Nobody can fool me, right?” said my 7-year-old niece Paula, while proudly displaying the book about nature she was reading.

Her mother used to tell her that she can learn a lot by reading books, so no one could deceive her with stories that were not true. This was one of the things that made her excited about reading.

Almost everyone knows that reading is a key factor in children’s good academic performance. What is the difference between academically outstanding children and those who find it difficult to learn?

I think that the fundamental difference is the love for reading and the time devoted to it.

I must confess that while raising my family, I could have done a better job of instilling a regular reading routine as a habit in our home. But it is better late than never.

Last week, Sopris Elementary School organized a night inviting families to put their enthusiasm and commitment into reading and sharing quality time with their children. Principal Kathy Whiting, Connie Casey, Angie Simpson, Janet Niebla and a professional group of teachers working as a team made the children and their parents feel welcome.

Whiting thanked the audience for attending the event and showing interest in their children.

Niebla did a great job doing the translation piece.

Casey, who is the literacy coach, emphasized the power of reading for children’s academic success. She made analogies of self-improvement, better understanding, boosting imagination and creativity, and requested: “Please turn off the television and move away all the electronic devices that can distract you from the wonderful task of reading with your children.”

Simpson, another of the speakers, pointed out clear and concrete evidence that proves how powerful reading and talking with children is.

As an invited speaker, I talked about the processes I face on a daily basis while promoting reading at home.

Casey said: “I hope that families walk out the door, believing that they can make a difference by what they do at home, by reading to their beautiful children and speaking with them.”

I think that our role in the literary odyssey is to be futurist parents determined to bet on the present with enthusiasm, creativity, commitment and dedication. The relationship we cultivate with our children during the process will be our most powerful legacy for them and something for our utmost satisfaction.

Through reading, we create powerful emotional bonds, which are key in human development. We build a more solid foundation for communication, which is one of the most important tools we use every day to connect with each other.

Plato said, “But if you ask what good education is in general, the answer is easy: This education forms good men and these good men act nobly.”

The family-education dichotomy is inevitably immersed in the ecosystem of hope to create a better world. Perhaps it sounds romantic, but it is proven that families who place a great deal of importance on education make stronger communities with less consumption of drugs and have more college graduates.

School-age children need their parents as a guides. Schools and teachers do their part, but without support from home, it is almost mission impossible.

Unless we as parents do something, it is like releasing the helm of a sailboat and leaving it to whims of the wind. Many may fail in their job, increasing the risk of having troubled children in our community.

What can we do? Commit ourselves, be alert to what happens at school, help them with their homework, read with them, converse extensively, ask questions to see if we are correctly understanding their emotions, approach their teachers, get to know their friends. Findings suggest that parent involvement in schools has an impact upon increments of students’ motivation to read and write.

Children are a key to restoring communities; their classroom plays a magical role where the teacher inspires, shares and molds, but having a committed home is vital for them.

From my perspective, schools are powerful nests of hope that need to be nurtured by all members of the community.

Every time I hold a book in my hands I think of my niece Paula, and I can’t help but smile; after all, I want to experience her feelings: proud, confident and happy to be reading.

Eloisa Duarte of Carbondale is an active volunteer with a degree in communications and a passion for education. Reach her at maeloduarte@gmail.com.

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