Dear EI Community:

Growing up in a house of book readers can be intimidating. It hurts to say this, but I often felt like an alien who could not master the reading skills of the natives. It was with great envy that I watched my brothers, mother and father pick up books, begin on page 1, go to page 2, finish chapter 1 and systematically read the book to completion. No matter how hard I tried, my eyes would begin to read, but I was distracted by every passing butterfly and change of the wind.

Just when I thought I would never be a reader, my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Kramer, recognized that I was struggling and asked me a question I will never forget.  She said, "John, what do you like to read?" I told her I liked to read newspapers and magazines that were delivered to my home. She said, with a big smile on her face, "John, reading is reading, but as long as you promise to read the newspaper and magazines every day, your future will be bright."

Looking back on my experience and applying all the research that tells us reading is the key to success, I have come to realize what saved me was newspapers and magazines. We often equate reading with books, but not all children’s minds are wired the same. It is with great joy that I would pick up the newspapers or magazines which did not have to be read in linear sequential order. The beauty of newspapers and magazines is they contain a rainbow of stories as opposed to the structure of the novel. It is with great pride that over the years, I have been able to retrain myself so that I can now enjoy newspapers, magazines and books.

Ladies and gentlemen, the research doesn’t tell us what we must read, but shows us why it is so important to read. The more words, thoughts and ideas that go into our brain through our eyes and ears, the better solutions that come out of our mouth or through our writing.

Please take a moment to look at the chart attached and do all you can to encourage our children to be better readers. Reading is the exercise our minds needs to make healthy decisions. Isn’t it great that we work in a profession where we could all become a Mrs. Kramer? Please join our movement and find positive, proactive ways to encourage our children to read. A little encouragement is the start of a a lot of big things.


John V. Dolan
Superintendent of Schools