DR. MARK PORTERIE — Now is the perfect time to embrace reading and its benefits

Published 12:18 am Saturday, March 2, 2024

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As the Superintendent of Schools, I am proud to support and champion Read Across America, an annual event that promotes the importance of reading and literacy in schools and communities across the country.

Reading is a fundamental skill that serves as the foundation for academic success, personal growth and lifelong learning. It is not just about deciphering words on a page, but also about understanding, analyzing and synthesizing information to gain knowledge and insight.

The ability to read for comprehension is essential for students to succeed in school and beyond. Reading comprehension is the ability to understand and interpret written material, make connections between ideas and draw conclusions based on evidence presented in the text.

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It is a critical skill that empowers students to engage with complex ideas, think critically and communicate effectively. Without strong reading comprehension skills, students may struggle to comprehend textbooks, follow instructions or complete assignments, limiting their academic achievement and future opportunities.

The benefits of reading are profound, opening doors to knowledge, imagination and empathy. It strengthens vocabulary, enhances communication skills and improves cognitive abilities.

Research has shown students who read regularly perform better academically, have higher levels of literacy and are more likely to succeed in school and career.

Conversely, the consequences of illiteracy are significant, hindering access to education, employment and economic opportunities. Illiteracy perpetuates cycles of disadvantage and inequality, limiting individuals’ ability to reach their full potential and participate fully in society.

It is never too early to start teaching children how to read and instilling a love of reading. Research has shown early literacy skills develop in the first five years of a child’s life, making this a critical period for laying the foundation for reading success.

Parents, caregivers and educators play a crucial role in nurturing a child’s love of reading by reading to them, engaging them in storytelling and providing access to a variety of books and reading materials.

By creating a literacy-rich environment and fostering a positive attitude towards reading, children are more likely to develop strong reading skills and a lifelong love of learning.

Reading is the key to unlocking a world of opportunities and endless choices in life. It is the pathway to knowledge and empowerment, enabling individuals to pursue their passions and achieve their goals.

By acquiring strong reading skills and earning an education, individuals can broaden their horizons, pursue their passions and achieve their goals. Reading opens doors to higher education, meaningful careers and fulfilling lives, providing a foundation for personal and professional growth.

A well-educated individual has the power to make informed decisions, advocate for themselves and others and contribute positively to society.

Read Across America is a celebration of the transformative power of reading and literacy. It reminds us of the importance of teaching children how to read but it provides children the opportunities to broaden their perspectives, it opens up the door to creating a better and more inclusive world.

By starting early, fostering a love of reading, and emphasizing the significance of literacy in education, we can empower students to reach their full potential and thrive in a world of endless possibilities.

Let us continue to prioritize reading and literacy in our schools and communities, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed and you will see … Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at mporterie@paisd.org.