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Reading: Filling Up the Information Bank

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

We live in an accelerating world.  Advancing technology places an increasing premium on reading and writing well.  Quickly understanding complex and evolving terminology is required to run a household, be effective in the workplace, comprehend financial, health care and other information, get the most out of our education and use new information tools.  To ensure America's youth are able to succeed, we cannot let up in stressing the importance of continuous learning. 


Researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that, from 1973 through 2007, the number of American jobs requiring at least some college education nearly quadrupled.  The Alliance For Excellent Education reported that "more than ever, students need advanced literacy skills to succeed in a fast-paced global economy." 


We should all strive to enhance our reading skills, and a sustained focus on improving literacy can help set youth on a sound path that will also benefit our economy.  ACT testing found that the clearest differentiator in reading between students who are college ready and students who are not is reading comprehension levels.  Further, according to an Alliance For Excellent Education report, economists indicate increasing literacy among teenagers would result in trillions of dollars of expansion in the nation's economy.       


We can work to instill good reading and writing habits early in our youth through tutoring, mentoring and reading to our children.  As the son of an English teacher, I was taught the value of continuous learning.  I have emphasized the importance of these skills to my own children and now my grandchildren.  We take in information through reading, and reading helps us develop writing and grammar proficiency.  Learning to read and write well takes practice.  Reading consistently helps ingrain those lessons throughout our lives. 


Reading spurs curiosity and new ideas and helps us better understand other people and their perspectives.  The value of this skill and the good writing it enables cannot be overestimated.  That is why I support efforts to ensure that books and other educational tools reach more of Idaho's youth.  For example, I have worked with several institutions to assist with the donation of books to schools and other organizations in Idaho.  


The knowledge we gain through reading serves as an internal information bank that can be remembered when needed.  Every day, we can work on filling up this information bank through reading and encouraging young Americans to develop a dedication to reading.