The Importance of Reading by Ken Hines
October 13, 2011 ~ Back when I was working on my master’s degree, I made deliveries for a radiator shop and paint supply store. One of our customers was a one-man auto body shop. Since the owner could not read or write, I would write his check out for him, and then hand it to him to sign. These encounters might lead you to question the value of an education. After all, with all my learning, I was making just over three dollars an hour, and our customer with the third-grade education was earning significantly more. Besides this small businessman, I have met a number of other illiterate and semi-literate people around the world. It’s interesting that they are practically all huge believers in education. I have never heard any of them criticize or even question the need to learn. Most likely they have faced closed doors their whole lives, and hunger for better opportunities for their children. Futurologists tell us that most of the jobs our children will be applying for 10 and 20 years from now do not yet even exist. What will they need to know to do their jobs? Of course, we can’t answer that question with absolute certainty. However, we can confidently say that each child will need to be able to learn new information, to acquire new skills, and to use new tools to survive and prosper in the coming age. In short, they will need to be able to read well and to know how to learn. That’s a big enough concern that some 100,000 parents from all walks of life bring their children into a U.S. Kumon center twice a week to ensure that they learn essential reading skills and independent learning techniques. They understand that reading is a key to unlocking future success.