Reading: The Foundation of a Good Education

“The more you focus on reading, the more you learn to love to read and the more you can do,” Secretary Duncan told a group of middle school students Monday afternoon at McManus Middle School in Linden, New Jersey. The Secretary stopped by McManus to join the Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, and Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of Duke men’s basketball and USA Basketball Men’s National Team, in celebrating the school’s participation in the Ticket to Reading Rewards (TTRR) program.

Duncan often explains that reading is the foundation of a good education, which is one reason he co-founded the TTRR in 2002 when he was superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. The program, which is run by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Foundation, encourages students to read books outside the classroom and provides rewards for reading. The program’s three components are reading rewards, tickets for students to local college basketball games, and guidance for middle school coaches to act as mentors in the reading program.

The students at McManus and Joseph E Soehl Middle School—Linden Public School District’s second middle school—read an additional 4,000 books under the TTRR program this year.  The TTRR program operates in more than 150 schools nationwide and more than a million students have participated in the program since it began in 2002.

Click here for more information on the Ticket to Reading Rewards program.


  1. I definitely think that reading is the foundation of a good education. Is needed in schools, universities and colleges and is very helpful. The more you do it more you would like it.

    It is a program that should be done in all schools.

  2. I thnkthat there is going to be more teachers and there ae a lot of teachers that are really committed to their job about educating their students. this is wonrful!

  3. Before we can determine the foundation of a good education we first have to know what education is. Currently our system is not geared towards education. Our system is geared towards literacy and that’s not the same thing.

    Literacy means the acquisition of skill sets. Reading, writing, math, sciences, and such. Education is deeper. Animals can be trained to perform tasks as well. Our current school system merely trains us on the animal level to perform much more complex tasks.

    An educated person understands themselves. They relate correctly to themselves, the others around them, and the general environment. In order to relate correctly a child first has to understand the difference between their “I”, and the sensations they feel from the perspective of their individual “I”. This generation of children is ready and hungry for this understanding.

    Consider the fact the even the great leaders of the world are unable to achieve peace, mutual cooperation, and friendship. And why is this? It’s not because the issues are complex. It’s because they don’t understand who they are, who the others are around them are, or what constitutes the correct attitude towards others in order to achieve mutual benefit.

    They seek for themselves and their own. The base calculation of self concern over empathy is the reason issues seem complex. We’re all trying to figure out how to extract pleasure and comfort from each other for our own benefit instead of seeking it for each other.

    Children must understand that they are part of nature and are operated by it. They must understand that their purpose is to consciously come into balance with each other and the general environment. Human beings are the conscious element of the general environment. When children attain this level of perception any skill you teach them will be easy for them to grasp. And they will use their skills correctly and benefit society as a whole. There are people who can teach this. And there are already children of middle school age pursuing college degrees of their own free choice and without any pressure to live up to state mandates. Google the name Michael Laitman Phd. Read the book “Children of tomorrow” which was written by him. If we’re going to educate then let’s get real about it.

  4. Please, please, please start to stress the importance of reading to performance in arithmetic as well as all other subjects. A student needs to be able to read directions, example text, and word problems to move ahead in math; and longitudinal data indicate an almost perfect relationship between math and reading scores. It is a fallacy that students can be proficient in math even if their reading skills are low. Rather, a student with math scores that are disproportionately higher than his/her reading scores is the exception, and represents an infinitesimally small percentage of the student population.
    On another note, my granddaughter is involved in TTRR, or a very similar program, and reads well over 100 grade-level (or above) books per year. Although she complains that one of her friends attains higher numbers by reading “easy” books, she stills feels an incredible sense of accomplishment each year. My only critique of the program is that it still tends to leave low SES kids in the dust. And now that RIF has lost funding to give needy kids their own reading books, my fear is that academic achievement gap between poor and middle-class kids will become even wider each year.

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