Encouraging students to read

Published 8:03 pm Thursday, March 12, 2015


Recently, Dr. June Atkinson, state superintendent of public schools, visited Eastern Elementary.

During that visit, Atkinson spent a period of time talking to staff and faculty and exchanging stories of their experiences in the educational realm. With March being Reading Awareness Month and last week being Read Across America Week, the visit was appropriate, as Atkinson took time to read to a group of first-grade students at the school — the primary reason for her visit. The visit and the celebration of Dr. Suess’ birthday was also fitting for the visit from Atkinson.

The fact that Atkinson took time out of her busy schedule to come read to a group of Beaufort County students could be viewed as a powerful thing. Imagine how special the students, as well as the faculty, felt that the state superintendent of North Carolina public schools not only made an appearance, but also took the time to read a book, “Where Do They Go?” by local author and Beaufort County Schools board member Michael Bilbro.

Events like this are great for the students who attend them. In this day and age of technology, gadgets, video games and the like, kids, in general, are pulled farther away from books, literature and, ultimately, reading. Reading is a very powerful learning tool. Becoming a better reader means one will have a better vocabulary, and in the event one does not understand a particular word’s meaning, one will, most likely, gain some notion of what it means via context clues. Again, that comes from becoming a more experienced reader. Another aspect of reading that is important is the fact that it generates creativity. So through reading, one can gain intelligence and creativity.

Events like that which Atkinson was a part of not only promote reading, but also give kids a sense of pride in reading. It is good that there are programs and events like this in the Beaufort County School system that encourage kids to read, and what better way to do so than to lead by example like Atkinson and the many teachers, staff and administration that promote it daily.