warrl,You made some good points. The research I've done seems a bit hazy, but basically, several studies have shown that between 60-80% of the prisoners in US prisons read at a 3rd grade reading level or lower.Last winter, I went into one state prison, in uniform, and spoke to roughly 200 prisoners, in 4 groups, who were in a GED program.The prison told me roughly 75% of the prison inmates, 1150 prisoners, do not have a high school diploma.The principal of the school in the prison told me he thought it was safe to say that roughly 75% of the prisoners in the US didn't have a HS diploma, based on his experiences and his studies.So, the way I look at all of this is this way.If we can get kids reading more, over time, we will increase their reading level.If police officers would copy me and start going into classrooms, not just one or two a year, but hundreds and thousands a year, reading, talking about reading, talking about hanging in to get that HS diploma, talking about college, vocational school, the military, talking about the local gang and drug issues, handing out free books and basically talking about life issues, I think we can and will make a difference.I do not know the long term results of what I'm doing. All I know is this. Kids who weren't reading, now, according to what they and their teachers tell me, are reading. Elementary school kids who hate to read, are copying the "cool" cops who read by reading themselves. My free book distribution program is still in its infancy. I kicked it off last year in one middle school to the entire 8th grade. Every student got 10 free books from me. This year, I followed those 8th graders to the HS and am giving them free books in the 9th grade. I also picked up the new 8th graders. I'm also a guest "cop" in another middle school close by, out of my job jurisdiction, where I hand out the same books, but ones the school bought. My plan is to pick up a new grade, 10th, then 11th, then 12th, every year, all the while keeping the 8th and 9th graders.As well, my goal is to get into more classes from the Kindergarten through 7th grade level, reading and "chatting" with the kids.I'm one person. I'm a simple man who sees improved reading skills and a better interest in reading as a way to improve society. If I can do this, why can't every law enforcement nation in the country do this? They can. It sure can't hurt and if nothing else, these kids I come into contact with are getting questions answered about a variety of topics that their parents and teachers may not be able to answer. They are also getting free books that they seem to really enjoy that are teaching them while they are reading them. As well, they'll hear me talk about topics and issues that their teachers may or may not talk about, but are topics that are important. Such as one I hash over and over, which is making positive choices in life. Suggestions and comments to what I'm doing are welcome.
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