Teachers of English have proudly pointed out to young students that only one subject taught in school started with a capital letter, and that demonstrated just how important it is to excel in the course.
During the Literacy Nights hosted at three Brazosport ISD campuses last month, district leaders emphasized that point with engaging activities intended to encourage children and families to read both for learning and for the love of it. That’s because without the ability to read with comprehension, all other avenues to knowledge will be more difficult.
“Having been an educator for 37 years; I taught history,” Trustee Joe Rinehart said. “And if you didn’t read, you didn’t do very well. And so I always challenged kids to read.”
The same is true for all other classes — solving word problems in math, understanding the terms in science and even learning the rules for sports played in physical education.
For many families, whether the older members have been here for generations or are recent immigrants who speak a different primary language, the ability to help their children with reading and speaking English can be an inhibitor to classroom success. Providing tools useful to those families was a central element of Literacy Nights.
“I like to promote literacy everywhere, not just at school,” third-grade teacher Jennifer Metric said. “It’s important for the kids to know that they can learn about literacy everywhere. Yes, the parents can help. And sometimes the parents don’t know what to do to help, besides just sit and read a book. And so these types of things give them opportunities to learn.”
Brazosport ISD launched a program several years ago aiming to have all children reading at grade level by 2020. The pandemic didn’t help achieve that goal, but program such as Literacy Nights can be invaluable to corralling all the positive influences in children’s lives toward learning to read and developing a passion for it.
Fentanyl fable cut down by Halloween reality
Hysterical posturing by politicians and pundits the last two months would have led parents to believe there would be lifeless Superman-suited and Elsa-adorned trick-or-treaters strewn across the nation’s sidewalks Halloween night. Reality showed living in a world of make-believe isn’t reserved for children.
Instead of Skittles and Nerds in plastic pumpkins, wily drug dealers would be handing out rainbow-colored tabs of the deadly opioid to unsuspecting kids. What this was supposed to accomplish we’re not sure since a dead child is not going to be buying illicit drugs later on, so handing out samples would seem to be counterproductive.
That goes without saying a single pill can cost in the neighborhood of $40 on the street, according to the people who research such things, which would make it difficult for even the most financially astute drug distributor to make ends meet.
Logic, of course, is discouraged when a good batch of mindless hysteria is ready for distribution, and the alarmism over kids tasting the opioid rainbow didn’t even slow.
By the end of Halloween, there were more than 1,500 reports of the potential danger from the Flintstone Chewable-looking narcotics, Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi said. The number of reports of kids finding fentanyl mixed in with their Gobstoppers: Zero.
When most of us were young, our parents would warn against taking or eating candy from ripped or opened wrappers. Hospitals would invite in families to have children’s confection collections X-rayed to see if any contained foreign objects, which made parents feel better but not so much the guy with the busted ankle waiting in the lobby.
University of Delaware professor Joel Best told the Post he had been unable to confirm any report of a child being killed or seriously injured by contaminated trick-or-treat candy, with his research going back to the mid-1980s. He also predicted the media furor would die down after Halloween had passed, telling Farhi, “I suspect we won’t hear much about this on Nov. 1.”
Those who wanted to score political points and grab viewer eyeballs got what they hoped by spreading the unfounded fear. All they managed to accomplish, though, is to reinforce P.T. Barnum’s assessment that there is a sucker born every minute — and one handed out every minute to kids on Halloween, not a single one of which had disguised fentanyl.