Recognizing the importance of reading

If a neighbor can make successful use of a great idea, it would be foolish to pass it up.

And its good that new Brooke County school Superintendent Jeffrey Crook sees it that way.

Crook, formerly at the helm of Marshall County schools, has served as Brooke County’s interim superintendent for about three months. On Monday, board of education members agreed to make Crook permanent in the position.

Board President Theodore Pauls praised Crook for having “a very student-driven attitude.” That was apparent Monday, when the board approved Crook’s “Success for All” initiative.

It is being described as a general school improvement program with a heavy emphasis on reading in elementary schools. “It is used in Steubenville City Schools and there have been improvements in (test) scores,” Crook told the board. He added that the initiative “is a phenomenal program for our elementary kids.”

Both reading ability and the amount of reading, often for pleasure, done by students are linked to academic success — and, conversely, to failure in life. U.S. Department of Justice analysts found that more than 70 percent of the nation’s prison inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level. Obviously, reading ability helps when students have to use texts, either on paper or online, to learn various subjects. And the more a person reads, including for pleasure, the better able he or she is to use the English language to communicate. Also, reading increases a person’s knowledge base.

It will be interesting to see how Crook’s initiative plays out in Brooke County. It will be very surprising if it does not increase academic success in general — though it may take a few years for the full benefit to become apparent.

Good for Crook for reaching across the Ohio River to emulate a program already in use in Steubenville. And good for Brooke County Board of Education members for recognizing the fundamental importance of reading.

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