Reading help available in public librariesCongratulations...


December 05, 1997

Reading help available in public libraries

Congratulations on your "Reading by 9" series.

I was especially heartened that you included the research from Marilyn Jager Adams' "Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print." As a public library director, I quote Adams' research every chance I get; especially the following conclusion from that study: "The single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills eventually required for reading appears to be reading aloud to children."

So, whether a child learns to read using phonics or whole language (or, as is usually the case, a combination of both) the very simple act of sitting down and sharing a story seems to be the keystone.

Your readers should know that the trustees and staff of every public library in Maryland have recognized the miraculous power of reading aloud to children of all ages on a regular basis. And public library services across this state have been designed to make this very simple act even simpler and more accessible to all.

One of the major roles of a public library is to be the pre-schoolers' door to learning, and resources are appropriated accordingly. Collections, facilities, knowledgeable staff and events are offered to encourage regular visits by the entire family.

Outreach services are offered to the day-care community, with a focus on low-income neighborhoods and Head Start Centers. Partnerships are forged with any agency or project that can help public librarians promote the sharing of stories with children and families.

And all of this is being done by staff in public libraries which are the second busiest in the entire nation. A 1996 study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that Maryland has over three million card-carrying public library users, with 51 percent of them having used their public library within a month and 73 percent in the previous year.

The only state that enjoys a higher public library habit is Alaska!

Kathleen S. Reif


The writer is director of the Wicomico County Free Library.

Lucy wouldn't approve of Ellen

When I saw the picture of Lucille Ball in the Dec. 1 letters section, I stopped to read what I thought would be a favorable opinion regarding this great performer. Instead, I was shocked and incensed to read the arrogant statement that, ''If Lucille Ball were alive today, she, too, would applaud Ellen DeGeneres for the woman she is: a fine comedian."

How dare that letter writer be so presumptuous as to speak for a deceased person, especially one whose style of comedy was always G-rated and never controversial.

I wouldn't presume to speak on Ms. Ball's behalf, but I doubt that she would have inaccurately used the dictionary definition of the adjective ''fine" to describe Ms. DeGeneres. We'll never know Lucy's thoughts on the matter, but I think the best adjective to describe Ellen is the one that so aptly sounds like her last name.

Tondra Johns


The big gamble that's killing horses

The recent closing of the Arlington International Racecourse dramatizes the fact that thoroughbred horse racing is dying.

Several theories have been offered as to why this is happening. Some feel that state lotteries have replaced horse racing as the way to get rich quickly. Others feel that people have moved on to other forms of gambling, such as riverboats.

Regardless of the reasons for the decline in horse racing, human nature does not change. The urge to gamble, although stronger in some than in others, is almost universal.

Where have the racetrack crowds gone? The answer is simple. They, along with the rest of us, are now involved in the stock market.

Howard Cobry


Phone book's art lacks sense of place

Bell Atlantic's phone directory error, in listing the Baltimore County police chief's number for recycling information (news story, Nov. 29), is inconvenient but not nearly so blatant as the cover drawing on both the white and yellow pages phone books.

Has anyone else noticed the grievous mistake of labeling the casually-drawn boat with a single mast the ''Lady Maryland?"

As any visitor to Baltimore harbor, the Patapsco River or Chesapeake Bay during the last decade would know, the sailboat bearing our state's name has two masts and four sails. Its much larger hull sports green and white colors, not blue.

In addition, the skyline in the background of the Bell Atlantic cover has about as much resemblance to Baltimore's Inner Harbor as it does to New York City's.

Did anyone from Bell Atlantic who approved that cover design ever visit our fair city, or did some corporate executive in a far distant high rise merely provide an automatic stamp of approval?

It is doubtful that our predecessor phone company, the name of which included the word ''Chesapeake," would have bedecked its directories with such disgraceful representations.

Bennard B. Perlman


Pub Date: 12/05/97

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