Recently the upcoming ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Walter Dean Myers, spoke on NPR about the theme he has chosen for his ambassadorship: Reading is Not Optional. I can’t think of a stronger statement to convey the importance of literacy.

This statement is of crucial importance because every child wants to succeed. There is not one person on this planet that doesn’t want to thrive and reach their potential. And for children to thrive and reach their potential: reading is not optional. Reading unlocks every piece of information that is available. It unlocks creativity and new ideas. It is vital to success.

You might have a child that appears to have given up in school and with reading. But, when children are resisting help or guidance it’s not because they are resisting success, they are resisting the fear that they will fail again. They are resisting failure. It is their way of saying: I don’t know how to succeed or move forward and I’m scared that if I try again I will fail again. They are never saying that they don’t want to succeed, simply that they don’t know how.

Even if your child is struggling with reading and wants to give up, reading is not optional. You must encourage them to push through. You must help them find the success they crave. Not one child that is struggling with reading wants to be struggling. They want the answer that will make them successful in learning to read.