A recent post introduced our new Reading Comprehension books for grades 7 and 8. Continuing the thread of reading’s preeminence for learning got us thinking about reading, literacy, and education around the country and around the world. Recently published books, such as World Literacy: How Countries Rank and Why It Matters, by Miller and McKenna (2016) provide a sweeping perspective on the topic. (Mr. Miller is also the author of “America’s Most Literate Cities,” USA Today.)
As with any topic one explores, discovery takes on a life of its own. One can travel the etymological route and discover that literate, from Latin, literatus, means “educated, having knowledge of letters” (alphabet); by the late 18th century, it also referred to being “acquainted with literature.” Learning to read and write is central to education and affects one’s life in profound ways. By the same token, lack of proficiency, and certainly its absence, is significant and crippling.
Miller and McKenna’s book is an exploration of the import of literacy. Avenues beyond learning to read are pursued in this text; knowing how to read is not the same thing as being “literate.” The volume reminds us of the disturbing global history of prohibiting certain peoples and cultures from learning to read—a reminder, however unsettling, of the power that reading bestows. A fascinating element about this book is that it is the first to compile findings from a variety of sources on the topic, so that broader concepts such as “literate behavior” can be explored.
Our motto of “minutes a day—mastery for a lifetime” certainly applies to the development of a child’s ability to read. We hope our reading series will play a role in the development of your child’s ability to read well and to love reading.
A later blog will explore literate behavior and why it is important, according to these authors.
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” ~Mark Twain