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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Spend some time reading this summer*

Now that summer is in full swing, what are you doing, boys and girls? Are you spending your summer break wisely and enjoyably? Are you, right now, enrolled or engaged in worthwhile, educational activities that are enriching your mind and body?

Education doesn't end when the school year ends. There's always something new to know and to learn, no matter how young or old we are, as long as we're able and capable of reading, writing and thinking.

Education should be a lifelong commitment.

Engaging in physical and mental exercises---doing simple hand-leg stretching, walking, yoga or chores, and reading or doing puzzles is always beneficial to our health and well being.

Our bodies are as important as our minds. If we have sound, healthy bodies and minds, we are well off, whatever summer adventure we participate in.

We feel blessed and fortunate to be able to perform our daily tasks or routine efficiently and effectively. We feel we are on top of every game or goal we play or set. In the end, we become productive and, thus, successful, because we are in great shape.

We are up for the challenge when our body and mind are healthy and strong. We're ever ready to face our battles every day, because we take health and fitness seriously.

Just as we nourish our body daily, so should we our minds. Joseph Addison (1672-1719), an English essayist, poet, playwright and politician, said, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

Simply put, we need to feed our mind with useful information that increases our knowledge and skills needed in a competitive world, the same way that we need physical exercise to flex our muscles and bones so they become strong and healthy.

I'd like to mention and applaud the efforts of Suffolk native, Lloyd Askew, a veteran teacher and reading specialist who has been teaching summer reading classes for our city's school children since 2013, via his Drop Everything and Read program. A story in the July 4th edition of the Suffolk News-Herald profiled Askew's literacy advocacy for the community.

I commend and thank you, Mr. Askew, for your devotion and dedication to education. For more information about this summer reading program, call 919-332-5828.

Reading stimulates our imagination and expands our understanding of the world. It helps us develop our language and listening skills and prepares us to understand the written word.

Even when children can read by themselves, it is important for us to read aloud with them until they are ready to tackle advanced reading materials.

Reading gives us a foundation for success. Without good reading and comprehension skills, we are limited in what we can accomplish in life.

Young children and old, have you been to the library lately? No? Why not? Busy spending your summer with your family or friends? Well, if you haven't, tell your Mom and Dad you want to go to the library, because you want to check out a book or two.

Keep up the great work, kids. Read always, for as long as you can. You won't regret that you did.

-Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at

*Appeared in the Opinion page of the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald, Saturday, July 8, 2017. For more information, visit

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