Reading can open a child’s eyes

Published 11:02 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

Reading is vital to a successful education and lays the foundation to a rewarding future. Learning to read at a young age has been shown to increase a student’s ability to remember facts, comprehend information and be successful in both school and his or her career.

March is celebrated as National Reading Month as a time to encourage children to pick up a book and read.

To help promote the importance of reading, I will be handing out bookmarks and reading to hundreds of students at local elementary schools throughout Southwest Michigan.

I encourage parents to join in the effort to help our children succeed through reading. Parents can check with their children’s school and local libraries about activities and programs and even ask about ways they can take part in reading activities along with their kids.

A simple way parents can help is by picking up a book and reading to their children each night.

My wife and I read a book every night to our children when they were younger, and we continue to make reading a priority in their lives. Reading to or with a child helps them learn language skills and gives parents an opportunity for quality interaction with their children.

Two 2016 award-winning children’s books tell the tale of a boy and his grandmother’s bus trips across the city every Sunday and the real-life story of a man who rescues a little bear on his way to fight in World War I. He names the bear Winnie and she ends up at the London Zoo, where she becomes the inspiration for “Winnie the Pooh.”

Matt de la Pena’s picture book “Last Stop on Market Street” is the 2016 winner of the Newberry Medal as the best book for children; and “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear,” written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is the 2016 Caldecott Award winner for most distinguished picture book.

They both are examples of books that can help achieve the important goals of Reading Month: To help engage our children about reading and to open their eyes to new adventures.

Highlighting the importance of reading to children is about helping our students succeed in life and develop a love of reading that they can pass on to their children.


Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents Southwest Michigan.