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Improve Rowan’s fundamentals; start with literacy

Job No. 1 for Rowan County leaders in 2015 is to grow jobs and the tax base. But just as important to the well-being of the community is another goal on which more of us can have a direct impact: improving literacy.

Can you tutor or mentor a child? Volunteer with the schools, library or Literacy Council? Help send a deserving person to classes at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College?

Literacy involves more than teaching children to read in elementary school. Learning to read, write and communicate begins as soon as children start talking, and it extends into adulthood as people tackle new skills and technology.

That said, what happens in the classroom is vitally important. The percentage of third graders reading at or above grade level in Rowan-Salisbury schools falls below the state average time after time, a situation Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody has called unacceptable. Students need more time and more help to build solid reading and writing skills, she said.

The school system has put laptops and iPads in students’ hands, but the one-to-one digital conversion is only one step, and it will take some time for it to impact test scores. Moody issued a call to action at a Literacy Summit in September, asking the public to establish 100 Wi-Fi Hot Spots and homework centers for students around the county. That’s one way businesses and nonprofits can help promote literacy, by housing one of these centers.

There are countless other ways to help improve local literacy, from reading to your own child to developing summer programs or supporting existing organizations geared toward youth.

Changes in the economy and local leadership have created a sense that Rowan is starting anew. This is the perfect time to focus on improving fundamentals, and what could be more fundamental than literacy? It helps individuals develop a personal sense of well-being and citizenship. And a workforce with strong reading and writing skills attracts good jobs. The push for literacy is in everyone’s best interest.

 

 

 

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