Book bank strives to expose children to books, readingI...


April 18, 1999

Book bank strives to expose children to books, reading

I applaud The Sun's April 11 article "Low-income households lack books, study finds." It rightly reported that low- income households often lack books, perpetuating a cycle of low-educational achievement that is often passed from parent to child. Research has repeatedly shown that introducing children to books at home helps them succeed in school.

If Baltimore is to enable its children to read at grade level by age nine, many partners must be involved, not just the schools. It is crucial that learning be supported at home. For this reason, the Baltimore Reads Book Bank provides free books to families who can't afford them, gives children a chance to read, and encourages parents to read to their children.

The Baltimore Reads Book Bank collects new and gently used books from people who want to share the joys of books. Since 1992 we have distributed more than 450,000 books to the Baltimore community. In the past, we took adult and children's books. We now focus on collecting books for children and encouraging families to read at home.

Baltimore Reads provides families with tools and resources to break the cycle of low literacy and begin investing early in education.

It's never too soon to share a book with a child. Children's experiences with language and books form a basis for later reading success.

Maggi G. Gaines


The writer is executive director of Baltimore Reads Inc.

After the prize series: Disservice to a scientist...

As a colleague of Hamilton Smith's at both Johns Hopkins and the Institute for Genomic Research for the past five years, I was very disappointed by your three-part series on Professor Smith's career ("After the prize," April 11-13). Your reporter painted an almost cartoon-like sketch that did a disservice to a great scientist and a wonderful person.

The statement that Professor Smith has "little talent for teaching [or] supervising students" (April 11) is absurd; many of his colleagues and former students can attest that he is a wonderful teacher. I first met him when I was a computer science professor at Hopkins, and he taught me -- with patience and great clarity -- many things about molecular biology and the new science of genomics.

Perhaps the most important thing that the article missed was Professor Smith's truly exceptional insight into science itself. His winning the Nobel Prize was not sheer luck, as the article would lead some to believe. Professor Smith has a remarkable ability to see which scientific questions will have the greatest impact upon our lives, and he has shown that he has the talent to answer some of them.

At this institute we feel fortunate to have someone with his knowledge, judgment and generosity as a colleague.

Steven Salzberg


The writer is director of bioinformatics at the Institute for Genomic Research.

... Or a fine example of scientific journalism

The Sun's series on Prof. Hamilton Smith, written by Douglas Birch, was an enlightening account of significant and complex subjects.

Mr. Birch's description of leading scientists and their contrasting personalities and approaches to science was great journalism. His explanation of the frantic race to complete the Human Genome Project was extraordinarily lucid and clear. The account of Dr. Smith's progress from childhood to his Nobel Prize and his continuing determination to think and believe in himself was inspirational.

Paul M. Kirby


Let's preserve Baltimore's historic west-side facades

The city tore down Linden Avenue and blocks of Eutaw Street mansions when it didn't think Bolton Hill would ever come back. The city tore down the commercial heart of North Avenue between Mt. Royal and Park avenues when it didn't think any of Reservoir Hill would be restored. Now the city wants to tear down the historic westside of downtown.

Don't let them do it.

Perhaps, instead of demolition, the city could use as a model the Grand Avenue mall in Milwaukee. There developers built along the alleyways, in back of existing retail buildings, preserving the historic fabric of the streetfront blocks.

Harvey Schwartz


Attacking Yugoslavia will create larger conflict

In Yugoslavia, our "surgical" air strikes are now being expanded because they have not brought Slobodan Milosevic to heel.

Thus we are killing innocents (although with occasional apologies) at an increasing pace. The White House spin-meisters are mumbling they knew the job would not be easy (for those doing the fighting, not for those spinning) and are doing their best to prepare us for the use of ground troops. They are probably considering how to explain future requirements for Vietnam-style escalation.

Although I sympathize with the Kosovars' plight, our intervention in the Balkans will only spark another endless series of ethnic grievances that will be revenged at the earliest opportunity.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.