Author: Rod Wagner, Director, Nebraska Library Commission

Reading is the gateway to learning, a life-time of learning. Educators recognize reading as a foundational skill for 21st-century learners. When children learn to read and read with proficiency their path to success in life and work is far easier. Parents, schools, libraries, teachers, administrators, and librarians are all essential to helping kids learn to read and read to learn. Kids who read succeed.

October is School Library Month and a special time to appreciate our school libraries and librarians. School libraries and librarians are vital partners in elevating reading achievement. Impact studies verify that school libraries contribute to student achievement and higher test scores. Libraries are an essential partner in helping kids enjoy the experience of reading – providing reading related programs, supplying books and other reading materials, author visits, book talks, and more. In all, school libraries contribute to a culture of reading.

Reading and learning are critical components through the educational stages leading to higher education. Along the way is the opportunity and necessity to save toward future educational needs. Nebraska’s NEST 529 College Savings Plan provides a beneficial, tax advantaged, means to save money to grow and to support college educational costs. Just as reading is essential to learning saving for college is essential to learning and to acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for 21st century work and life.