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Light the fire!

Light the fire!

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The Importance of Literacy in Preventing Poverty

By: Becky Kreienkamp, Midland Division

The culture of today’s society puts a heavy emphasis on literacy. If one wishes to be successful in said society, a formal education is almost considered a requirement. America has shifted from a farming-heavy culture to a technology-heavy culture.

Muscle and brawn are no longer desirable attributes for high-paying jobs. Education now is more focused on embracing technology and instructing students on computer programs, calculator functions and the like. English classes are geared toward teaching students to interpret and analyze literature to learn critical thinking skills that can be transferred to future careers. This means all education leads to the real world where employers require a background of education.

To be literate is to be successful in this world.

Literacy and formal education are so important for a successful career – therefore literacy is essential to preventing poverty. An education teaches students how to be responsible and driven, such personality attributes that are essential for real-world jobs.

Preparing work for a teacher is direct training for preparing work for an employer. If goals are presented to students, then they have something to work toward and rewards to look forward to. Having an education will keep kids focused on success and off the streets. It will keep their eye on the future, and a thriving future at that.

When reading is not seen as a daunting task, students are more likely to pursue an education. This is why The St. Louis County Library’s Summer Reading Program is so wonderful.

This program is partnering with The Salvation Army Day Camp and encouraging children to read during the summer, which will prevent the brain hiatus that often happens in the absence of school. Young participants of the Summer Reading Program are told to log their reading hours, and prizes can be won for those who achieve honorable levels of logged hours. Such a method makes reading enjoyable for children, and it maintains their education in the summer months.

When reading and learning are seen as fun, then children are more likely to finish high school and advance to college. If children get used to reading, then high school and college will be a piece of cake!

While college and graduate school are not required for all jobs in today’s world, if you want a specific career be prepared to work through an education to achieve your goal. This could mean trade school or a four-year university and beyond, but high levels of literacy are needed to complete all types of education.

Although education is hard work and sometimes daunting, it can be enjoyable. Long hours of reading, writing and studying lead to great rewards!

It also is important for children to see reading as a relaxing and gratifying activity. When one is among the hustle and bustle of the real world, having downtime to enjoy a good book is a gift, and this mentality starts during childhood.

For most students, school is where they find themselves. They discover whether they are interested in music, theater, math, biology, etc. They discover whether they want to work with people or computers.

Without the ability to read and analyze, along with having a desire to learn, children might never find their true identities. This is why we must encourage our children to keep reading. Strengthening children’s love for learning will allow them to excel with flying colors into the real world.

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