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Emil Wasniewski column: Increasing literacy in the community needs to be a goal

2:42 AM, Dec. 6, 2012  |  Comments
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In my last article, I complimented the generosity of central Wisconsin residents in their generous donations to the semi-load of items sent to the Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey. It was greatly needed and appreciated. Thanks again for your generosity.

This time, I would like to address a situation that affects us all. It is the problem of illiteracy in our nation and, yes, right in our neighborhood.

Illiteracy is defined as being unable to read and write as well as a 10-year-old. Yes, some can't learn; some did not have a chance; and many did not take advantage when it was available. It is too late for most, but something can be done to improve this situation in the future.

It is a goal of Lions Clubs International to make a significant change in this problem by starting at the very bottom. The goal is to make books available to the very young, find people to read to them and encourage them to learn to read. My goal is to get books to the preschool children.

Have someone read to them and let them learn those rows of letters are magic, have a meaning, a message and a satisfaction for the rest of their lives. A book or books they can call their own, treasure and guide them toward a successful life. What we need is to collect those children's books gathering dust, get them to the right children, and encourage parents, child care providers or baby sitters to read to them, inspiring a desire to learn for themselves.

When I say the "right children," I refer to those of low-income families where the price of a book means a meal and food must come first. It is important that the young mind is fed as well as the body. Food pantries and pediatric centers have been suggested as distribution points. Your help and advice are greatly appreciated. Ten years from now will be too late for those needing our help now. We filled a semi; we can fill a box with books.

What is a good gift idea for a child or an adult? Try a book, a gift for a lifetime.

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