It’s September, and bright yellow buses are once again transporting Kentucky children to one of the most influential places they will ever go: school.
Think back to your childhood for a moment and remember your school experience. Wasn’t school where you formed friendships, gained knowledge, and began your learning journey? Wasn’t school where you first experienced square pizza served with a side order of corn? Chances are you went to your first dance at a school, and had your first crush on a boy or girl in your class. School is a place where we go to learn, and in the process we make memories that last a lifetime.
Most of us believe in the power of knowledge and care about our schools, and while we have made great strides in education, we still have work to do.
For instance, did you know:
- Nearly one in five (19.2 percent) Kentuckians age 25 and older do not have a high school diploma or GED, compared to 15.9 percent nationally who do not.
- Of 2.4 million working-age Kentuckians, 40 percent (nearly one million) function at the two lowest levels of literacy.
- Kentucky continues to rank 49th in the nation in high school completions and GEDs.
These problems belong to every Kentuckian and there are plenty of ways we can help. We can mentor a student who is struggling. We can volunteer at an adult literacy center. We can donate books to libraries in memory of friends and relatives. We can buy books for underprivileged children. And instead of giving toys or clothes for Christmas and birthdays, why not give books?
One of the most important things we can do in our homes is read to our children. Statistics have proven that children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading than children who were read to less than three times a week.
So let’s get reading, Kentucky, and let’s reach out to those who can’t!
Teresa Bell Kindred is a wife, mom, and teacher. Her latest book is Mom:PHD: Leadership Skills for Moms. Visit her online at www.teresakindred.com.