READ! by 4th is much more than a literacy program. It is, in fact, a very good example of how some of today’s widespread education challenges can be tackled. Indeed, the real power of READ! by 4th may be in its ability to get diverse constituencies to agree on a common objective and then knuckle down to the hard work of achieving it.
Initiatives such as READ! by 4th don’t waste time picking sides or laying blame. They keep kids front and center and are focused on the reality that all of us need to get involved in supporting the needs of children in positive and meaningful ways.
The immediate benefit may be improved levels of literacy, but the potential for other programs built around other issues (math, science, etc.) is significant. I wholeheartedly support this effort on behalf of our city’s children.
In the end, we cannot lay the blame for the shortcomings of our education system at the feet of any one group, nor can we avoid the shared responsibility we have in improving education outcomes. That’s true whether you’re a teacher, parent, mayor, a legislator, a member of the business community or anyone with a stake in this issue, including the kids themselves. Yet the problems are real, and the demand for solutions grows ever more urgent. Which is precisely what makes this literacy program so exciting.
I’ll be doing what I can: highlighting the need for improved literacy, calling for real and sustained support for this program and others like it, and educating myself so that I too can always keep the needs of children front and center.