Sample Op-Ed Piece
Share your point of view about children's literacy in your community by writing an Op-Ed, or Opinion-Editorial. Most daily newspapers have an Editorial or Opinion Page containing Op-Eds, many of them written by syndicated or staff columnists. A few syndicated columnists you might be familiar with are Molly Ivins, David Broder, and William Raspberry.
To supplement these columns, many newspapers welcome Op-Eds written by people in the community. Having a local educator or even a local celebrity write the piece may be a good strategy for getting it published.
Most Op-Eds are between 500-800 words and clearly a state a strong opinion. Spend some time reading local guest Op-Eds to get a sense of word length, subject matter, and tone. Be sure to call the Editorial Page editor to see if he or she is interested in receiving an Op-Ed on reading and NEA's Read Across America. If the editor sounds interested, use the Sample Op-Ed below as a starting point. Tailor it as much as possible to your program and your community.
Remember: The more you can show the importance of this issue to the newspaper's readers, the greater chance you have of getting your Op-Ed published.
If you've ever shared a book with a child, you know the joy and excitement this small but meaningful act can bring. But, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, since 1993 only 53 to 58 percent of children ages three to five received this joy on a daily basis.
We can do better! Simply reading daily with a child does requires parents, older brothers and sisters, and other caring adults to add yet another hat to the many they already wear to care for and raise a child. But by adding the reading hat to your collection, you also add great rewards:
- Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school.
- Children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills.
To get kids excited about reading and encourage more adults to spend time reading with their children, the National Education Association (NEA) launched the first NEA's Read Across America day in 1998. On March 2, 2012, NEA's Read Across America will mark twelve years of celebrating reading and the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
So from coast to coast, teachers, celebrities, community members, and parents are putting aside the many hats they wear for work and play and donning their reading hats, the red and white striped stovepipe hat of the Cat in the Hat. Here in [insert name of your community], [insert details of your NEA's Read Across America event and how its supports raising a community of readers.]
In bringing a nation of readers together under one hat, NEA's Read Across America offers opportunities for you to volunteer, to read, and to share your life experiences; opportunities for businesses to contribute products to congratulate young readers and for employees to volunteer time at reading programs; and opportunities for our elected officials, from the national to the state and local levels, to make reading a high priority.
Let's all join together on March 2, and every day thereafter, to ensure that [insert name of your community]'s children have caring adults to share books and rich reading experiences.
[Author's name] is [author's title and name of institution.]