Van Roekel: Building a Nation of Readers Begins at Home

On March 2, 45 million people are expected to take part in the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, the nationwide program that helps children discover the joy of reading. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Education, reading aloud to your child for 30 minutes a day has a significant impact. “If you start while your child is an infant,” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel writes on CNN’s School of Thought blog, “your child will have heard 900 hours of stories by the age of 5. This critical investment of time translates into academic success later.” Source: CNN

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  • Bob Gilbert

    A twelve hundred foot per second intervention

    In the business of education an intervention is any course of action taken to aid a struggling student. This aid can be a modification to a students’ educational program to address academic, emotional and/ or behavioral short comings. Many times this aid is meticulously described in an IEP; an acronym for individualized educational program.
    Sadly, these interventions, the genesis of which was intended to help students, have become a shield for the students against responsibility, accountability and discipline. Students routinely dodge appropriate discipline for offenses including verbal threats as well as a diverse plethora of malevolent acts including assault. Troubled students quickly learn that they are not responsible for completing their school work on time. They realize that they will be given extra time as well as professional staff to help them with all school work including tests. They also know that they will not be held accountable for ignorant behavior that many times is also criminal. These students are cloaked with a shield called an IEP, ADHD or ADD. Simply put, they get a free card allowing them to dodge the consequences of their ill-advised actions.
    The truth of the matter is that high school students should have already learned the concepts of responsibility and accountability. If not for NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND these concepts would have been instilled in our students since there would be no shield for the ignorant and apathetic.
    When a 16 year old Reading High School student decided with two friends to skip school and play video games, they were depending on the shield. When that same truant 16 year old was caught by his probation officers playing video games with his delinquent friends as a result of the responsible actions of his weary mother, he was promptly put under house arrest. He was then informed he and his broken-hearted mother would have a 4:00 o clock meeting that day to assess the consequences of his actions. Astonishingly, he and his accomplices decided a better course of action would be a crime spree. They were confident in the shield and surely did not care about the consequences that their actions would have on their families and their victims. So our convict and his two friends set out to mug people. In point of fact, three innocent people were victimized.
    The first two played their roles as victims as planned. The third victim, however, rewrote the script. In so doing, a 65 year old man, crushed the cloak of invincibility for our trio. The second amendment allowed our potential victim to possess a gun. Thankfully, he had a gun and used it responsibly and legally to defend himself. The elderly gentleman in the course of protecting his own life did not inquire about IEPs; the bullet knew nothing of ADDs or ADHDs. Tragically, another Reading student received his last intervention; at twelve hundred feet per second.