Newspapers in Education: Thanks, Grandpa, for being a reader

By Sarah Tucker

I never saw my grandfather without a newspaper. He always had a cup of coffee in one hand and the day’s paper in the other. It’s a funny thing that most memories of my grandfather involve him and the newspaper, because my grandfather was illiterate. Each day he “read” the paper from start to finish, recognizing some words and hoping the rest would come to him if he just kept trying. He didn’t learn to read because he was from a different era, one where work was valued more than education.
My parents took our education seriously because of my grandfather’s illiteracy and taught us to read at an early age. They encouraged my sisters and me to read the newspaper by setting it out with breakfast each morning. I would devour breakfast, and then I would devour the paper. I read it front to back, and I could tell my parents everything that had happened in the world that day, before they had time to read it themselves.
Although my grandfather was illiterate, his newspaper “reading” positively impacted my life. It encouraged my parents to make sure their children were literate, and it helped me become an avid reader who was informed about the world from an early age. Newspapers encourage literacy and contribute to an informed society. Reading them provides children with vocabulary skills and knowledge about the world and their surroundings. Without the presence of newspapers throughout my life, I might not be so well informed or as much of a reader as I am now. The positive affect reading a newspaper has on children cannot be denied.
My grandfather never did learn how to read, but I can contribute my own love of the printed word to his desires to be literate and set a good example for his grandchildren. Newspapers in education are a positive influence on future generations, and they deserve our respect and support.

Sarah Tucker is a graduate student at the University of Missouri. She grew up an avid reader and has been involved in journalism in some way since elementary school. Sarah is from Sugar Land, Texas.

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