By Charles Sosnik

Reading is a civil right. This is a very strong statement.

In this issue, our cover story features LeVar Burton and Liz Brooke, who lay out their thoughts for the importance of literacy in today’s world. I could not agree more with their reasoning.

It still shocks me when I meet men and women in this country who cannot read. Truth be told, there are an awful lot of them. More than you might realize. Without the ability to read, opportunities are very limited. And as a society, we have failed those who cannot read, especially since many of them have attended our public schools.

But it isn’t just a school failure. It is a community failure. According to Burton and Brooke, ‘This can involve everything from providing access to libraries and literacy programs to engaging families in reading activities and advocating for policies that support literacy education. Literacy is truly a collective responsibility, and it requires collaboration and commitment from all sectors of society to ensure that every child has the opportunity to become a proficient reader.”

In addition to the amazing cover story, we also have an article by Felix Brandon Lloyd, CEO and Founder of Zoobean. By trial and error, and asking a lot of questions, Lloyd has learned some excellent ways to get boys and girls interested in reading, and he freely shares what he has learned.

For instance, community reading challenges, competitions, rewards, and recognition are the keys to transforming a school’s reading culture. Lloyd says, “Students are much more likely to engage in reading when there is a goal to work towards. Community reading challenges can be used in a variety of ways, like a district-wide reading challenge, and are a powerful motivator for students. A little friendly competition against classmates or grade levels helps get kids excited to read. We’ve also found that incentives and rewards really work. Whether it’s pizza parties, field trips, or earning badges, perks create a buzz around reading.”

Literacy is a fundamental human right, as important as the right to have clean food and water, shelter, and safety,” say Burton and Brooke. Literacy is also a civil right because regardless of zip code, all students deserve access to high quality instruction and highly knowledgeable teachers. If you can read in at least one language, you are free. No one can hold sway over your mind because you have the means to self- educate.”

As you know, ET Magazine is a champion of EdTech, which is why we bring you the finest minds in Education and Technology. With technology, we can do so much. But until little Johnny and Janie can read, nothing else really matters. So let us all agree. This is where the buck stops. And we WILL get the job done. No matter what.

About the author

Charles Sosnik is a writer and editor specializing in the education space. Though he is an editor by trade, he is Southern by the Grace of God.