It's the responsibility of all parents to read to their...

Letters to the Editor

January 27, 1999

It's the responsibility of all parents to read to their children

In response to the Opinion Commentary article ("Teaching the young child" Jan. 22): I can do nothing but agree with state schools chief Nancy Grasmick that children need to be read to from the moment they enter this world. Most children start preschool at the age of 3, too late to gain those most important skills to "help determine future success." Therefore it is the parents' or parent's responsibility to do so. Let's educate the parents.

Why not include in prenatal classes, Lamaze classes and birthing classes sessions on the importance of reading to and speaking to your children? Why can it not be taught that the intellect, as well as the child's physical health, must be nurtured? Why not have literature in the obstetrician's office stressing the importance of reading to your child?

And why not send a bag of brightly colored children's books home from the hospital with the newborn, along with the diapers, formula, baby powder and store coupons? Nurture the intellect and the physical well being of the child. Teach that to parents.

I am the mother of four children, ages 3 to 24 years old. I have lived through varying degrees of economic stress and security. I have worked full time outside of the home, and I have stayed at home. I have been a single parent. But I have read to my children since they were 2 days old.

I have carried them around the home from room to room talking quietly about the pictures on the wall and the trees outside the window. My husband still reads to our 8 1/2 year old every night before she falls asleep. And yes, it takes time, but what an important gift to give. And it's free.

The government should do more. Preschool and kindergarten environments should be provided that will help to develop skills. But isn't 3 too late? Shouldn't our money be spent early in the life of the young child, on educating the parents?

We cannot continue to pass the most important job of educating our children to others. It is the responsibility of each and every parent to read, read, read to their children. And it is the responsibility of those of us that know that, to teach it to those that do not.

Jane Carey-Hallgren, Phoenix

Homeland's concerns are safety, quality of life

I would like to respond to John E. McIntyre's Opinion Commentary article ("Cruising through Homeland" Jan. 18) regarding recent traffic changes in Homeland. Though directed specifically at Homeland, the piece unfortunately disparages in a simplistic and sophomoric manner the right of all residential neighborhoods to address legitimate safety and quality-of-life issues.

Homeland's traffic patterns were designed more than 70 years ago. Obviously, since that time, changes have occurred that have substantially impacted traffic in Homeland. These include the expansion and increased traffic on Northern Parkway, the establishment and enlargement of neighboring schools and colleges, and the reduced reliance on mass transit. It has become increasingly evident that the streets in Homeland and other area residential neighborhoods were not designed to handle this increase in traffic or the higher speeds of today's automobiles and that cut-through traffic should be encouraged to use the more arterial streets.

All neighborhoods, including Homeland and Mr. McIntyre's Hamilton, have the right and responsibility to review the effect of traffic patterns on their quality of life and property values.

Homeland has no barriers and few restrictions to traffic flow. Over the past few years, stop signs, speed humps and limited turning hours have been introduced. These changes were made to reduce the speeds of vehicles and to discourage the cut-through traffic in this solely residential neighborhood by motorists whose sole concern is convenience.

By reducing speeds, a neighborhood is a safer place for its residents, particularly small children, and it is a safer place for nonresidents who visit to enjoy the neighborhood. Homeland has worked closely with Baltimore City on all changes to ensure that they do not unreasonably impact the greater community of which Homeland, and its residents are proud to be an integral part.

Certainly, one of Baltimore's primary assets is the continuing strength of its residential neighborhoods. It is Homeland's belief that, on balance, the safety and quality of life of residential neighborhoods should have priority over cut-through motorist convenience.

William E. Maseth Jr., Baltimore

The writer is president of The Homeland Association.

I am ashamed of The Sun for printing and of John McIntyre for writing such a sarcastic column .

Of course, it is in fun to poke fun at people you think are being uppity and high-toned. However, we, in Homeland, are just like John McIntyre and others who work hard for a living, love their neighborhood and try to treat their fellow men fairly.

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