In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 29, 2007 / 15 Elul, 5767

Sometimes a great notion

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A visitor well versed in Southern stereotypes might be disappointed to discover that the indigenous people of this upstate community harbor a passion not for a benighted Confederacy, but for literature.

In fact, few places in the nation are doing more to advance literacy than this historic textile mill town, where books are free and reading is rewarded.

Last week marked the second year of Spartanburg High School's summer reading program, an innovative approach to literacy that is the brainchild of Kathie Bennett, an international flight attendant and mother of a local high school student.

Bennett credits her own love of books to a fortunate education at Sewanee, the University of the South, where she got to meet some of the authors she read. She wanted to give Spartanburg children the same opportunity in hopes of cultivating a love of reading.

With other like-minded citizens and teachers — and a determined principal named Rodney Graves — the summer reading program is flourishing with 100 percent participation.

Here's how it works: Students pick a book from a selection of eight and voluntarily read it over the summer. When school reconvenes in the fall, some of the books' authors visit to read and discuss their work.

As extra incentive, students who have finished their books — and produce a paper or other project — are given four points that can be used in any class to raise their grade. It's a win-win deal, with a bonus lesson in free-market economics. Work and be rewarded.

Although most schools have summer reading programs, this one is unique for a couple of reasons. One, the books are gifts to the students, purchased through state literacy grants and the generosity of donors who believe, as Graves put it, that anytime you give a kid a book, "you're changing a life." In many cases, these students have never owned a book.

Also, the Spartanburg community, not just teachers, participates in the program. Between 75 and 100 citizens, including Mayor Bill Barnet, volunteered to read the books and participate in classroom discussions.

I was a visitor to the program this year — asked to stand in for my friend, political cartoonist and author Doug Marlette, who was killed in July in an auto accident. His first novel, "The Bridge," was one of the books selected. Other speakers were North Carolina poet and author Ron Rash, who read from his novel, "The World Made Straight," and Florida writer Janis Owens, another Marlette buddy, whose novel, "The Schooling of Claybird Catts," led last year's program.

It was a sad three days for friends and fans of Marlette, but he would have been delighted by the sight of almost 2,000 students crammed into a gymnasium to hear authors talk about reading and writing. "The Bridge" resonated with this audience, not least because it details the history of the textile mill uprising of 1934, but also because Marlette was without peer in taking down the pompous and politically correct with a wicked sense of humor and a gimlet eye for false virtue.

The immeasurable reward of Spartanburg's program is familiar to all readers — discovery of new worlds and insights that otherwise might be unavailable. This is especially true for the Internet/iPod generation, for whom information and entertainment are passively received with the click of a button.

Reading, by contrast, requires participation — a little give-and-take between writer and reader. Marlette often lamented the trend away from reading, which had given him so much joy as a child, toward activities that deliver programmed material rather than engage the human spirit.

He, like Rash and Owens (and I), belonged to a generation of children who had to entertain themselves with their own imaginations. That task was aided considerably by weekly visits to the public library, a sensory treat — enhanced by then-rare air-conditioning — that promised adventure, romance and escape.

To read, we learned, was to live greatly.

Spartanburg students seem to be getting that idea, as are literacy coaches elsewhere. The reading program will be replicated in 12 other schools across the state. One educator visiting from New Zealand plans to create a similar program back home.

In a time when American literacy is in decline, Spartanburg citizens and teachers seem to have made an important discovery: Give a kid a book and he just might read it. Maybe he'll write one someday.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2006, WPWG