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Community joins effort to spread literacy at Skyline

Staff Writer

BARSTOW• A police officer, a waitress, a nurse and a fire chief all took on different roles Wednesday, as they joined the ranks of professionals participating in Skyline North Elementary School’s celebration of Children’s Book Week.

Community members were invited to Literacy Day at the elementary school to read to one class each and explain how they use reading and writing in their current jobs.

Kim Barilone, principal at Skyline, noted the event emphasized a correlation between reading and employment.

“It helps us put focus on how the working world is impacted by reading,” she said.

According to the National Center for Family Literacy website, many of the nation’s adults, 16 years of age or older, do not possess sufficient skills in literacy and numeracy to “fully participate in an increasingly competitive work environment.”

Fifth-grader Vanessa Martinez, 10, started reading in kindergarten. Her brother, a student at Barstow Community College, regularly offers help.

“We’re both bookworms,” she said, while she enthusiastically explained every inch of her choice book, “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.”

The enthusiasm demonstrated by other students for Literacy Day was palpable upon tour of one classroom. When asked who enjoyed reading and writing, a majority of hands shot up.

According to the NCFL website, it will be key for that enthusiasm not to wane.

“Reading fluency is a more powerful variable than education for examining the association between socioeconomic status and health,” the organization’s website states, pulling from a 2007 study.

“You give a child the gift of reading,” Barilone said, “and it can never be taken away.”

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