The Pryor Times

Opinion

July 14, 2013

How reading builds strong communities

Reading has many benefits – everything from expanding horizons to increasing vocabulary.

Reading also builds stronger communities – full of job creators, innovators and leaders. It is not just teachers talking about how important it is to read, but even people outside of school will agree on the need to be a good reader.

This year we started a reading program to challenge 2nd District students to read as many books as they can in the summer. Our program ends July 31. I urge every parent in the 2nd District to enroll your children in not only the District 2 Reading Program but also the reading programs at local public libraries.

How does reading make our communities stronger? I’ve asked people from around District 2 to weigh in on the way reading benefits the entire community.

The first woman mayor of the City of Eufaula knows the importance of encouraging children to read - they become the leaders of tomorrow

“As a child, we didn’t have cable or internet, but I would travel the world and have many adventures through reading,” says the first woman mayor of the City of Eufaula, Selina Jayne-Dornan. “Reading encouraged the creative juices and as an adult helped keep my mind focused on the ambition of living those adventures.”

Margo Stewart, owner of the Pink House Restaurant in Claremore said reading has been fundamental in her success.

“If I hadn’t been able to learn to read, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Stewart reflected.

OG&E Community Affairs Manager and Marshall County Chamber of Commerce President Robert Holliday said readers can make discoveries.

“Reading is a great way to discover the wonders of the world,” Holliday said.

Area coaches and athletes know the power of reading.

“Working to perfect good reading skills is the most important thing we can do to develop good thinking,” said Randy Gipson, head women’s basketball coach at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. “Reading is to our mind what physical fitness training is to our bodies.”

Ross Dvorak, an NSU student who plays center on the football team said his parents stressed the importance of reading.

“I started reading newspapers and interest articles at a young age and I credit that as a key ingredient to my classroom success today,” Dvorak said. “Reading is a major gateway in gaining knowledge. And, reading never stops, whether you are seven, 17 or 70. It is critical to never stop reading, never stop striving to learn more about what life has to offer.”

“Read with a group of family members or even just a friend because you could shape our community into a better and stronger place,” advises NSU graduate and former NSU women’s basketball player Taylor Lewis.

NSU student and baseball team member Addison Williams said through reading, knowledge is gained, dreams begin to build and motivation sets in.

“One who reads will continuously grow far beyond their years. Leaders are readers,” Williams said.

Poteau Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Karen Wages summed up why teachers, local librarians and all of us are so emphatic about reading.

“Readers are thinkers. Thinkers are achievers. Achievers become leaders.”

Whether it is becoming the mayor of your hometown, building your own business, achieving a dream or excelling athletically, reading has a role in the life of each child and in our communities.

Please take time this summer to model good habits and read books to and with your child.

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