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Children need to read more

I agree with the Deseret News Editorial Board ("Newspapers: eyes to the world," March 5) that young people are not reading newspapers. Congratulations to the Newspaper in Education staff for its great "No Books Day" program! I also believe that parents need to take a more active role in encouraging their children to read books, newspapers or other written materials.

Parents need to pass on to their children the importance of reading. Tom Clancy, America's best-selling novelist, observed: "I like being around books. It makes me feel civilized. The only way to do all the things you'd like to do is to read."

Annie Dillard, author of "An American Childhood," wrote: "Why are we reading, if not in the hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness, and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?" And William Brinkley, author of "The Lost Ship," concluded: "I have often wondered how anyone who does not read, by which I mean daily, having some books going all the time, can make it through life. Indeed if I were required to make a sharp division in the very nature of people, I would be tempted to make it there: readers and nonreaders of books."

Parents should work with their children to develop some reading goals. According to Lynne Vallone, associate professor of English at Texas A&M University, "The parent and child can together set goals, and then the parent can reward the child for reaching those goals. The best rewards are ones connected to the reading project, such as setting aside a small budget for children to buy books."

Vallone urges parents to share their favorite childhood books. Vallone stated: "When children read books from their parents' childhood, such as 'Anne of Green Gables,' they see their parents in a different light. Some kids have a hard time realizing that their parents were once children, too."

A few minutes of reading together every day will increase our children's overall success in school and in life. High grades in school are often associated with excellent reading skills. Reading is a habit for successful students. This habit will also help children achieve their future professional goals.

Reed Markham

West Jordan