Do you know someone who can’t read? We all do, even if we don’t know who they are. Teens who drop out of high school often have trouble reading and when they feel isolated from a culture that reads, they may get into trouble with the law. Think about it: Where can you get a job if you can’t fill out the application? How could you work if you can’t read and follow written instructions? Even obtaining health care is nearly impossible if you can’t fill out the paperwork. And it’s very difficult for a child to learn to read if his parents can’t read or afford to buy books. It’s no wonder some young Americans believe that what happens to them doesn’t matter. Learning to read is the one skill every child deserves and needs to be successful in school and later in life.
Getting Our Kids to Read
I often teased my children that they must have been switched at the hospital because none of them loves books like their mom does. But, they saw me read nearly every day and I read to them, board books as babies, picture books as toddlers and bedtime stories as they grew.
- I also learned that my sons would read biographies of sports stars, sports magazines and even stats comparing athletes. My daughter read books about arts and crafts and magazines about trends in fashion and she also enjoyed reading the world-records books. She grew to love romances, too.
- We all had library cards and went as a family when they were younger.
- I insisted that they do their homework and that included reading. My middle son—a sports star—developed a love of history because of reading required at school. They were all exposed to a variety of subjects in school and their interests broadened, which is a much more satisfying way to live.
- A friend of mine has a magical way with books and her children. She shares appealing tidbits about the stories she reads with her children, who often want to read the books, too—and then they discuss them. Sometimes they have to wait for her husband to read them so they can all talk about them together! Nice job, Kim.
Kim’s children are blessed by the stable reading foundation given them by their parents, but their story is not the norm. A love of reading is today uncommon and it is estimated that twenty percent of kids in high school can’t read at the level required for them to compete and survive in the work world. What a waste of potential inspiration and creativity. Imagine if all Americans were well-educated and we unleashed our creativity together—we could solve all our problems, especially those related to crime and punishment. We’d switch monies from one column of the budget to another far more productive.
Which brings us to advancing the cause of literacy and The Tucson Book Festival, the fourth annual community event organized to bring together authors, publishers and the reading public in an arena friendly to families. Net proceeds from the festival are used to promote literacy in Southern Arizona. They have already donated $500,000, earnings from the previous three festivals, to local literacy groups, including Reading Seed, The Literacy for Life Coalition (which is now Literacy Connects) and the UA for their literacy programs.
The 2012 Tucson Book Festival takes place on:
- Saturday, March 10, 2012, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Sunday, March 11, 2012, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
General Admission is free.
Booths and exhibits are set up at the UA Mall, along East University Blvd, stretching from Old Main to east of Cherry Avenue, where a new Science City venue will be set up. Parking is free at all UA surface lots and in six UA garages: Cherry Avenue, Highland Avenue, Main Gate, Park Avenue, Sixth Street and Tyndall.
A Tucson Book Festival Guide listing all events for adults and children of all ages—over 400 authors, discussions, book signings and free programs for writers, a culinary tent, entertainment venues and 250+ exhibits—will be available from the Arizona Daily Star in the Sunday, March 4, 2012 edition. It includes a detailed map of the happenings and parking lots. To get your festival guide, call the Arizona Daily Star at 1-800-695-4492. Special attention was paid this year, at the 100th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood, to include authors and panels that reflect the people and culture of Arizona over the past century.
The Tucson Festival of Books is an all-volunteer event and cannot happen without the care of unpaid helpers. They need to fill 2,000 volunteer shifts that include the Food Court, venue management, information booth, author and moderator escorts, cleanup and signage. See the full list of signups at http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/item/show/279691 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there!