Photo Illustration By Brandon Richardson
Photo Illustration By Brandon Richardson

In recent years, reading outside of school has become something strange among today’s younger generation.
If by some chance students are reading outside of class, it tends to be books like “50 Shades of Grey” or “Twilight” instead of reading something substantial to broaden their critical thinking skills. Being able to articulate your thoughts in speech and on paper is getting less common as the years go by.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education website, reading proficiency among eighth grade students in California has an average of 29 percent.
It’s almost unimaginable that students are receiving passing grades and moving on to high school when they can barely read.
In fact, the website also states that college readiness among high school graduates has an astounding average of 31 percent in California while the national average is 26%. OK, California is at a slightly higher average than the rest of the country but it’s nothing to be excited about; less than half of the graduates are still not ready for college.
The Cal State system requires The Golden Four courses to be taken before Community College students can transfer: writing, critical thinking, math and public speaking. With the exception of math, the first step in passing those courses is being able to read and comprehend what you’re reading.
Now, this is not a suggestion to immediately start reading Henry David Thoreau or Geoffrey Chaucer, but it’s a suggestion to start reading something other than smutty teenage romance novels.
Start small. Read the newspaper. Even in today’s technologically advanced society, the print newspaper is read by millions of people every day; so why not add to that positive statistic?
In terms of writing, LBCC offers courses you can take to help you learn how to properly articulate your thoughts on paper.
The Reading and Writing Success Centers on the PCC and the LAC are also valuable resources you can use to help you with your classes.
Reading makes you a better writer. Reading something of substance makes you think more critically, which in turn helps encourage you to speak in a more professional manner.
For more information, visit the Alliance for Education website at all4ed.org. The Reading and Writing Success Centers are located in EE206 on the PCC and in E09L on the LAC.
During Fall semester they are open Monday-Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both campuses.