Community literacy goal set

The Tiffin City Schools and the education community believe that every child in this community deserves the opportunity to reach their full academic potential. How do we as a community accomplish this feat? Truly, the basis of all learning begins with literacy, that is, the ability to read and understand the written word. Without it, our children are doomed to underperform. Remarkably, many children do not receive the fundamental exposure to the written word early enough to prepare for grade school. Thus, the goal of literacy by completion of the third grade is much more difficult to accomplish.

Our present Tiffin City Board of Education and the local community, including the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, have embarked on a mission to achieve a 90% literacy rate upon completion of the third grade in our community. At first glance, one might consider 90% a rather pedestrian goal, yet statistically, it is extremely difficult and uncommon for a community to achieve this level. In fact, 40% of U.S. children do not read well and 25%t enter the fourth grade reading at a first or second grade level.

Why is it important? All learning from the earliest years of elementary education hinges on literacy. In fact, the number of words a child hears prior to his/her start in kindergarten will translate into greater achievement in math, science, and all subject matter. Our children’s future is destined to be filled with challenges as the pace of our society, business, government, and even leisure activities increases. To be able to acquire and use information in an ordered manner, will determine their success. No longer beasts of burden, we will need intellectual muscle to compete and lead in the future.

What can we do? Children are very receptive to the written word being read to them. From the earliest days of life, they acquire an understanding of the spoken word. Likewise, as we sit with them and read from a book, pamphlet, or screen, they learn to follow left to right. As one reads to a child, they engage with their reader and as most parents know, they insist on repetitive efforts and often the same book. Repetition is truly important in the learning process.

Who’s responsible? Who benefits? We are all responsible and we all benefit. Grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles are all capable of reading to a child daily. Books are available at the Tiffin Seneca Public Library and the Tiffin area now has availability of free books for the children from birth to five years of age through The Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The Imagination Library provides monthly delivery of an appropriately selected book to each enrolled child, made possible through the local literacy champion. By the start of kindergarten, each child will thus have a library of sixty books of his/her own. This is truly a great start!

Please join me and our local education community in embracing this wildly important goal of 90% literacy by the completion of third grade. Everyone can contribute. Everyone will benefit. Information about our community efforts toward literacy are available through Tiffin City Schools and the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library. Twenty minutes per day of reading to a child can make a difference in their lives as well as your own and the success of the community at large.