African American Parents Empower Your Child with Reading
William Jackson, M.Edu – Edward Waters College
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs
to the people who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X
The school year brings new opportunities for academic success and
excellence. Each year provides 180 days of learning that can build a
student each year in preparation for higher education, vocational
school, military service or other educational opportunities.
Public education is a foundation for greater learning and the
development of a child’s mind in critical and higher order thinking.
Having over 25 years of public educational service and higher
educational teaching I have seen the power of education expanding
opportunities for African Americans if there is consistent parental
involvement, the travesty and truth is too many parents are not
encouraging their children in reading and literacy. When are more
African American parents going to grow tired of hearing that African
American children are the lowest readers, struggle with literacy and
have low comprehension skills? There must be a point where parents
grow sick and tired of being at the bottom and creeping up and down.
Education can empower children for dynamic and successful
careers or the lack of education can place a child as unemployable,
under employed or not employable.
There are developing careers that will allow a child to witness the
genetic structure of the human DNA and research cures for cancers
or birth defects, the future ability to travel to Mars and planets beyond,
explore the deepest oceans, live and work in the international space
station, develop cures for illnesses that have killed millions globally,
feed people in desserts and other careers in STEM, STEAM, STREAM
just to name a few.
As I have blogged previously: “the engagement of technology allows
African American children and children of color to expand their intellectual
and creative abilities beyond sports, entertainment and the stereotypical
elements that society deems appropriate for African American children.”
Parents must set the stage to encourage reading and literacy to grow
and strengthen comprehension.
The world has embraced technology to a point that toddlers are attracted
to the shiny screens of tablets and Smartphones. This is an automatic
affinity to the engagement of technology and empowerment that
technology can provide; every opportunity parents should incorporate
reading and comprehension skills. Games are for entertainment, fun and
enjoyment, learning can have an awesome effect if parents would direct
their children to educational sites online instead of foolery.
“My alma mater was books, a good library…. I could spend the
rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” Malcolm X
More African American youth, teens and young adults need to
have this philosophy and thirst for knowledge. Parents set the
educational platforms at infancy by reading to their children,
introducing them to books and learning materials.
The critical part of any successful educational endeavor is
the involvement of parents. Critical to valuing education, the
empowerment of learning and the direction of continued
educational success are from parents and their collaboration
with teachers and schools. Technology has opened up a new
period of educational and social evolution. Parents must be
willing to be involved and put their children in situations
of academic and technical growth.
Parents need to understand their part and get involved in
their child’s education. If they do not more cities will close
schools just as in Philadelphia, Chicago and other cities of the
Many schools closed will be in African American neighborhoods
where parents are not involved, seem to not care about working with
teachers and allow their children’s educational opportunities to
be destroyed. If African Americans are silent about their educational
thirst they will be ignored and moved from sight, allowed to wither
away by intellectual dehydration, a slow death of unemployment,
lack of community re-investments, dying economic opportunities.
The words by Malcolm X ring true even in the 21st century,
“People don’t realize how a man’s (woman’s) whole life can
be changed by one book.” Malcolm X
Encouraging your child to read is not always a game, it needs to
be planned, engaged and active in the home.
Photo Listing of African American Nonfiction Books