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03/27/17

The Power of Storytelling

This guest blog was provided by actor, director, author and lifelong literacy advocate, LeVar Burton to inspire the next generation of readers during National Reading Month!

Levar Burton

My love of literacy, as is probably the case for many of you reading this, began with my mother. I could have easily fallen through the cracks and ended up as one of the millions of children who fall behind in reading, never to catch back up to their peers. I was the child of a single mother and a latchkey kid, but in my mother’s house reading was not an option – nor was it a requirement; rather, it was a part of everyday life. As an English teacher, my mother knew the importance of not only reading to me, but in front of me – providing an example and a set of incredible footsteps in which I follow.

I am the man that I am because she is the woman that she is. I couldn’t have imagined the lasting impact a television program could have on the literacy community. The adults who watched “Reading Rainbow” as kids credit it with imparting a lifelong love of reading. These adults are now sharing the gift of reading with their own children. The circle continues.

But our work is not done. Six out of 10 children from low-income families have no age-appropriate books in their homes. The need to provide these children with the resources required to inspire a love of learning has never been more important. I am passionate about engaging these young readers and continue to work toward my vision of literacy for every child, everywhere.

All of my work in literacy is in honor of my mom, Erma Gene Christian.  I’m sure you all have a mom or dad, a teacher, an author or illustrator – someone – that inspired you to become an advocate for literacy. It will take us all to inspire the next generation of readers. I encourage you to visit www.rif.org/donate and help continue to ensure that reading is an exciting part of every child’s life.