Planting seeds

Published 9:13 pm Thursday, March 31, 2011

Study after study proves that reading ability is one of the most important factors for determining future success in life. The ability to read at an advanced level, comprehend what one is reading and then remember and apply it makes one a valuable employee and a better citizen in general, not to mention the pleasure that it brings.

And strong reading skills are built from birth, when good parents start spending time each day reading to their children. Some people believe, in fact, that reading to children in the womb gets them used to the sounds and the cadence of language, perhaps preparing children for what they will hear after they’re born.

Whether starting before birth is overkill or not is debatable, but the evidence is very strong that young children who are read to develop stronger language skills and better reading habits of their own. There’s also plenty of evidence that young children look up to and often try to emulate youth who pay attention to them.

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A group of students from Lakeland High School took advantage of that tendency recently to do something good for a group of youngsters at Kilby Shores Elementary School. Fourteen members of the National English Honor Society read some of their favorite Dr. Seuss stories to the children in 10 different classes at the school.

The event gave the kindergarteners and first-graders a chance to see that reading can be fun and a chance to benefit from the mentoring of people younger and maybe even a bit “cooler” than their parents or their teachers.

The Lakeland students planted seeds during the event on Tuesday. Now, if only the parents will water those seeds by spending time of their own each day reading to the children, there’s a good chance that the youngsters’ reading skills will grow. And that’s good for them and for everyone who will depend on them for things in the future.