I sat side by side with Ranjini Govender, Stand's Executive Director, and Dr. David Chard, Wheelock College's President, to deliver testimony in support of increased early literacy investments to the Joint Committee on Education. As a mother of two children in Revere Public Schools, I wanted to voice my opinion on why this is so important to me.
I grew up in a El Salvador, and school was very difficult for me; I needed a lot of help, which was not available. I had poor grades and really did not enjoy school. I think a large part of this struggle was that my school didn’t have a library. I grew up without access to any books, so I didn’t love reading, or even think it was necessary.
I went on to high school, where I graduated and attended university. However, I did not finish earning my degree. Today, I look back and realize that not reading nor the opportunity to foster a love for reading at a young age is one of the reasons why I dropped out of school.
My children are 9 and 12 years old; I encouraged both to read at a young age, and because of this, they are avid readers. My daughter has won writing awards and is a very good student. My son struggles to pay attention during class, but is an excellent speller, and his teacher tells me it’s because he likes to read.
Because of my own experience, I was not surprised to learn that 71 percent of poor children in Massachusetts are not reading as well as they should be when they are nine years old. However, I was surprised to learn that as a state we do not have more to support struggling readers before they drop out of school like I did. We can and must do better.
Please sign the pledge to ensure all children can read on grade-level by visiting everychildreads.org.