It is estimated that 74% of Arizona fourth graders are less than proficient in reading. We must change that. We can help all children become literate and engaged learners.

My eighth grade son set the school record for most Accelerated Reader points earned in the history of his elementary school. My fifth grade son, who is just as intelligent as his brother, is diagnosed dyslexic and is working hard to develop strategies to read with greater fluency. Both need to improve their literacy, but the techniques needed for one are very different than those for the other.

My family and I are advocates of greater resources for dyslexic students. There are specific strategies to help them overcome their reading challenges (my son was tutored in an Orton Gillingham approach). However, each student, dyslexic or not, is different. It is important that educators employ a variety of teaching techniques to help students read.

My office is part of the Read On Arizona group of communities. We are working with the County Library District to support some of our rural communities in their efforts to increase literacy.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, History, all become more difficult when a student struggles to read. When we work together as parents and educators to identify the literacy needs of each child, we will open up a world of limitless knowledge for our kids.