Re: “It’s a Book, Not a Belief System – We Risk Groping Our Children’s Futures, America’s Ideals”, by Shirley Robinson, Opinion, August 19.
Dallas Morning News, thank you very much for posting Robinson’s words in your opinion section. She speaks for so many people. Reading, reflecting and discussing books lifts us to a higher level.
Books enrich us. What a powerful statement!
Naomi Bennett, Richardson
Protect the freedom of others
Thank you, Shirley Robinson, for explaining so clearly why every Texan should stand up against the assault on our personal freedoms in the form of banning books from school libraries. In his own words, “The strength of this country comes from the richness of histories, experiences and cultures that should be celebrated. … We cannot allow a single political party or belief system to dictate what free people can read and learn. …Parents and guardians have the right to have the final say on what their children read. … However, this privilege does not extend to making this choice for other families and children.
Amen! Our own freedoms are only protected as long as we protect the freedoms of others.
Karen Wiese, North Dallas
Re: “Memoirs Under Review at Southlake School – Campus Named After Author Says He’s Not Banned, Despite Messages,” Wednesday’s Metro & Business article.
Reading about the book’s possible ban Life is so beautiful, which tells the story of the life of George Dawson, evoked a wonderful memory of meeting Dawson at the King of Glory Lutheran Church. King of Glory featured Dawson and author Richard Glaubman in the adult forum class shortly after the book’s publication.
In 20 years of having many notable speakers in the classroom, I don’t know of any who have had the impact that Dawson’s story has had. Hearing the details of the life of a poor black worker during the Jim Crow years is a very powerful lesson for all of us to hear.
But more importantly, also hearing that Dawson would conclude that “life is so beautiful.” And to realize that a neighborhood literacy project has reached out to him by inviting him to take reading lessons. He learned to read at 98.
There are so many important lessons associated with this man’s story. This book should be considered for any middle school or high school classroom.
Becky Brakke, North Dallas
The student becomes the teacher
Re: “Keep the Message Alive: Read Books Aloud – Educator and author Jim Trelease has spread the news that hearing words has given children a huge boost in school”, by Christopher de Vinck , Opinion of 20 August.
Reading Jim Trelease’s story about the importance of reading aloud to children, I must have smiled as I remembered an incident when I was a volunteer tutor at my neighborhood ISD school in Dallas. I taught reading to 5-year-olds and one student told me, “I speak Spanish at home and I speak English at school.
I realized that this little one was already bilingual! I knew she probably taught English to her mother and whoever lived with her. So here was a case where the child was the teacher. Whatever the situation, learning works both ways.
Mary Mallardi, Far North Dallas
An important part
I just read the Jim Trelease opinion piece, and it might be one of the most important essays I’ve read in a long time. Please repost regularly. People, read it and send a copy of his book, The textbook read aloud, to all your children’s teachers!
Mark Koch, North Dallas
An important program lies on a shelf
Jim Trelease, like many visionaries before him, was not appreciated in his time. The gap of 32 million words he spoke of between the student being read to and the one who is not is a blight on society. We know that if you don’t read at the fourth-grade level until fourth grade, you’ll probably never be able to catch up.
Even more frightening, a colleague who teaches in a poor neighborhood said that for the first time he saw students arriving at school who had never seen a book. And some don’t even know that the books exist.
The best part of Trelease’s read-aloud program is that it costs nothing to implement. No million-dollar program with assistants to teach teachers or textbooks for them to read, no three-month deadline to get it into the curriculum. You can grab a pound and put it in place the next day and see the immediate benefits.
However, since no one will make a profit, this will probably never see the light of day, and we will all continue to suffer the effects of poverty and the crime it increases, and this 32 million word gap.
Robert Preston Jones, East Dallas
Better to leave?
I was educated in the St. Louis public school system in the 1950s and 1960s when it was a national leader in excellence. Like many big city education systems, it’s not as good as it used to be, but I have fond memories and am grateful for the intensive reading program that started in elementary school and has continued until high school.
In 1963, I was a sophomore in high school and had to read and bring back the revealing and life-changing book by Harper Lee. Kill a mockingbird. I remember Mr. Conley, our literature teacher, telling us to be thankful we didn’t live in Texas because so many school districts were banning this wonderful novel.
I am almost 75 years old and for various reasons I will probably never leave Texas. But the recent movement to ban books from school libraries makes me think my children and grandchildren would be better off elsewhere.
Thomas D. Kelly, Lantana
‘Education deserts’ are unfair to children
We’ve read about “food deserts,” those neglected communities where fresh produce can’t be found, and only crisps and soft drinks are on store shelves. Now that the Keller and Grapevine-Colleyville school districts have enacted their rude measures to censor libraries and muzzle teachers, we may soon be calling these towns education deserts, and possibly intelligence deserts.
This hardly seems fair to children who want to learn to think for themselves. These policies come from the same people who speak out against “cancel culture” without ever looking in the mirror.
Garry Potts, Highland Park
An interesting caveat
Re: “District sets CRT and bathroom boundaries – Grapevine-Colleyville administrators also play big role in book selection,” Wednesday Metro & Business article.
Buried in this story about a number of far-right decisions by the Grapevine-Colleyville school board is a notice that any books they remove from school libraries “shall not be considered for added again for at least 10 years”. In other words, “We have the right to ban the books, but future trustees are prohibited from altering our decisions for a time.” too long time.” Hopefully this accumulated idiocy on idiocy can be challenged in court.
Bill Halstead, Far North Dallas
With all the concern over the use of books in public schools, the following descriptive statement in this story struck me: “to repel the overt harmful infiltration of social and cultural propaganda”.
I find it surprising that no one has claimed Ayn Rand’s book draw, as Source Where Atlas shrugged., on public school shelves. His books are loaded with political ideology and propaganda.
I guess they hurt young minds a lot more than And Tango makes three. But I haven’t heard anyone mention them or want to delete them. How come?
James R. Bridges, Destiny
Find these books elsewhere
Here is a proposal for the book ban problem. If you think certain books are right for your child but the school thinks there is a problem with that particular book, just check it out at the library or buy it. But a school library should not be a place that arouses controversy. The issues that come to the fore are issues of personal values and lifestyles. Always the hardest problems to normalize.
Thomas R. Youngblood, Dallas
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