It all starts with an interest in reading

The state is staring a massive $23.6 billion budget deficit in
the face, and rough waters are on the horizon for every public
agency in California, including our schools.
As We See It: The Free Lance

The state is staring a massive $23.6 billion budget deficit in the face, and rough waters are on the horizon for every public agency in California, including our schools.

Though voters passed the largest school bond measure in state history earlier this month, most school districts are in a cutting mode, including some in San Benito County.

The San Benito High School District is operating under a $700,000 deficit and the Hollister School District has eliminated some classified staff, including custodians, health clerks, yard and campus supervisors and librarians. And even as officials make these decisions, administrators say the condition could get worse.

But what could be worse than these reductions that have already taken place?

The library schedule at Ladd Lane Elementary School has been reduced from seven hours per day to six, yet the school added a sixth grade this year with more than 100 additional students;

At Calaveras Elementary School, the library suffered the district’s biggest cut, being open seven hours per day to four;

At Cerra Vista Elementary School, library hours have been reduced to three hours per day.

While we know schools must tighten their belts in the current budget condition, reducing already limited hours regarding one of the foundations of learning is of concern and a shame.

The three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic – of an education are a must, and notice which is first.

Learning to read and developing an interest in books at a young age is the essence of an education. Reading is the basic skill that is fundamental in every aspect of one’s life and in their future profession, whatever it may be.

Children don’t develop an interest in reading from all the information available to them on the Internet. The information is there for the taking, but one must know how to take it, analyze it and think critically of it. And all that starts with reading.

Learning to read and developing an interest in reading is the first step in learning how to research and in learning to learn what one must to advance oneself.

Reading books, of any nature, opens new worlds to everyone, but access to those worlds only begins with an early and developed interest in reading.

Libraries and books – not replaced by access to computers – must continue or we will all be lost in a very small world.

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