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In her Chicago Sun-Times column, Mary Mitchell says that the debate about why so many urban black children have trouble reading has raged since she was a child. Now, after sociologists, educators and politicians have spent years pointing fingers at bad teachers and poverty, she asks if parents are to blame.

… But, honestly, could it simply be that too many low-income black parents failed to cultivate the love of reading in their children?

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Just about everyone reading this column will be annoyed by the very question. But I’m not talking about you.

This question is meant for the thousands of young mothers and fathers who dropped out of school or maybe even graduated from high school, but can barely comprehend enough of the written word to fill out a job application.

These are the young men and women who are filling up state and federal prisons, primarily because they do not have the life skills nor the education needed to make better choices.

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If you know someone like that, pass this column on by any means necessary because children born into this situation struggle the most with reading …

And a lot of African-American kids are having a difficult time reading because no one is engaging them in conversations at home.

Read Mary Mitchell's entire column at the Chicago Sun-Times.