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According to national testing, two-thirds of our 4th graders and older cannot read proficiently. For sixty years our schools have tried to improve literacy, and decrease drop-out rates. Literacy means being very good at reading and also doing it, not just knowing how to read. No nation in history has ever achieved true literacy for all its children. Total literacy has been considered an impossible task. It's time we aim higher.
This Generation's Moon-shot
I estimate that with just one out of ten adults stepping up to mentor one child the PTR way, we will raise every child in every elementary school in the country. That means every child who is capable, being able to read at a fantastic level and loving it. And doing it in one year. No nation in history has ever done this before, which makes it seem like an impossible goal. Like putting a man on the moon. But, in my mind, this is just like taking a long walk, one step at a time. I am asking you to help me find the one out of ten.
I believe they are out there. There are people like you who like to read, and who believe that reading is an important key to every child's future. Yet, I also recognize that many will say: “It is somebody else’s job.” “I can’t possibly do this.” Some will simply not care. Nine out of ten may say "No". But, with one out of ten saying "Yes", we all win. One thing I believe: one day our nation will be full of kids who love to read and learn. I want that day to be as soon as possible.
I believe that a nation that can send men to the moon and bring them home safely can also bring every one of its children to a love of reading and learning. This is more important than finding a cure for cancer or winning the war on poverty. How many inventions were lost because someone never learned to read? There is a direct connection between a lack of knowledge and skills and a person's ability to feed and care for his family. Our prisons are full of people who cannot read above a very basic level. A love of reading turns into a life of continual learning. How many problems will we solve by aiming for nothing less than total literacy? Possibly that cure for cancer, and a whole lot more.
Please allow me to share some thoughts with you, as it will help you understand your part in this. The vision of Point to Reading is for all children. Instead of aiming for a goal of having fewer children fail, Jumpstart Manual focuses on the goal of raising every child to a love of reading and learning. That means every capable child becoming a great reader. Truly, no child left behind~not just a meaningless slogan.
This is certainly a big idea. You may wonder what you could possibly do to make this happen. Much more than you may previously have imagined. Can you change Congress, or the school board? Maybe not. The magnitude of the problem of education in America may be big, but we are bigger. What you can do is mentor one child. That act will change one child’s life forever.
It's Time for a Bigger Vision
Point to Reading and the Jumpstart Manual
The original Point to Reading book was written for parents. I believe (and many studies agree) that a parent is the best choice for someone to grow a child's love of reading and learning. This is covered and explained in many ways in PTR. But, we also know that as few as one out of four adults really like to read. The sad reality is that many parents will not mentor their own children. What can we do about those children whose parents cannot or will not do this?
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.” Helen Keller
The Day One Person Solves Somebody Else's Problem
As long as we pretend that our drop-outs and a 35% reading proficiency is somebody else's job to fix, this nation will continue to decline. The day enough of usdecide to do what it takes to become a literate people, that is the day we solve our reading problems and begin a new future. Those who choose to be the one out of ten will not wait for somebody else to do what One Person can do. The 80/20 Rule says that 20% of the people will do 80% of the work. All we need to transform reading and learning is 10%. To which group do you belong?
One is Onederful.
All it takes is for One to build a reading relationship with One child. Will that save all the kids? No, but it will save that One child. Will you be that One? Will you share this message to find One more? Who knows what One child may accomplish because of you!