I read the recent opinion piece written by Mark Shriver and state Sen. Robert Stivers. I wholeheartedly agree with them about the learning crisis facing rural kids. But the authors didn’t mention the simplest thing that can be done to solve this downward spiral of literacy failure: reading to children, beginning at birth and continuing until at least first grade.
When we researched “My Baby Handbook,” we discovered that the poorest families do not have a book in the home. Their children aren’t read to and are barely talked to.
Karen Hill, chief operating officer of Baptist Health Lexington, told me they have started a program of giving every newborn at Baptist a book and mailing them a book on their birthdays for five years. Why should this be limited to the hospital? Children’s books are not expensive, so why can’t every child in the commonwealth have a book?