Jim Trelease’s “The Read-Aloud Handbook” is so much more than its title suggests. Sure, it explains what to look for in storytime selections (no dialect, obscenities or weak plots, for starters). But its real strength is a smart and compelling explanation of why parents should read to their children early and often, from infancy onward. Raising a lifelong reader is the single-best investment a parent can make, Trelease insists. Enthusiasm for reading ensures the range of knowledge and . . .
I appreciated the opportunity to speak at Breakthrough Austin’s Beat the Odds Benefit. I shared my newcomer’s perspective on the organization and made a case for helping it close the gap between the Austin Dream and the Austin reality of extreme segregation. It’s a tough job, but I’m optimistic that the city has the resources to do it. Here’s the speech: My family and I moved here in May--with 3,000 other folks. We’re part of the influx of people primed to relocate by all of the Best . . .
Journalist Kristen Green seems born to write this particular and personal history of Prince Edward County’s legendary segregationist resolve. Yet her book, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County, reveals the many ways her family and community groomed her to do otherwise--to look the other way as devastating racial divides persisted. The story of her awakening is powerful. It is rooted in history that began before her birth but is by no means past. In 1948, the all-white school . . .
Sometimes the best thing an emergency room doctor can give a kid is a book. In a world where low-income children hear 30 million fewer words than more affluent peers, literacy’s the true life-saver. Sutures and IVs can do only so much to address the aftermath of poverty—violence, drugs and abuse—that accounts for so many ER visits. Just ask Dr. Robin Foster, chief of pediatric emergency services at VCU Medical Center, who says she makes as much impact with social engagement as . . .
Months ago, I interviewed Katie Meyler, founder of a nonprofit devoted to getting girls off the street and into school in Liberia. I was so impressed by her story, and the magnitude of her efforts to serve destitute girls, that I held onto my notes, intending to write a long feature about her. The former education reporter in me wanted to collect more data, visit the school, interview students, and see for myself the impact this one passionate woman makes. In short, I wanted to write . . .
In November, Shaka and I launched a campaign to raise $100,000 for FRIENDS Association for Children, a local group that provides early childhood education and afterschool programs to some of our community’s most vulnerable children. We knew the goal was ambitious, particularly because the heart of the campaign involved engaging hundreds of supporters to raise thousands of dollars through the sale of t-shirts on Bonfire Funds, a new online fundraising platform. But the shirts were crucial to . . .