Everyday on my way to work I pass a man standing on the street holding a sign with a simple message “Why Not Teach EVERY School Kid To Read Well.” Today I stopped to talk with him. Bill is a retired school teacher who has dedicated an hour each morning for the past 6 years to standing in front of the NYC Department of Education with this sign and share his simple message.
He has a blog as well aCityReader.blogspot.com and shares the reality that a mere 30% of poor kids in NYC can read well and that NYC has some of the shortest library hours of any city. In NYC, libraries should be safe havens for children and adults providing unfettered access to books, computers, and knowledge especially in neighborhoods that would benefit from extended hours and access to those free resources. But the real question this raised for me as I talked with Bill was, why do we continue to fail our children when it comes to basic skills and joys such as reading? Why does our education infrastructure continue to make reading and learning a chore instead of natural course of development and growth that it is prior to school? I believe we can do better.