Mary Kay Bond spoke to the White Sulphur Springs Rotary Club at their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, Sept. 12. Bond is the executive director of Read Aloud West Virginia. She explained the importance of reading aloud to our children. Children learn to read during their early years and are influenced by the words they hear read. The more words children hear the better prepared they will be for reading to learn later. Children are not born readers. They are raised to become readers. Bond outlined three facts facing our West Virginia youth: 1) The reading level required to succeed (manage your job, your home, your own health) is higher than ever; 2) West Virginia students are not keeping up. Reading scores are lower than the 8th grade scores in 45 other state; and 3) West Virginia boys are particularly lagging behind. In 8th grade, West Virginia girls score 13 points higher than boys, the third largest male/female gap in the nation. Bond recommends helping children become better readers because better readers are more successful in school and in life. For additional information call 304-345-5212, write to Read Aloud, P.O. Box 1784, Charleston, WV 25326 or internet readaloudwestvirginia.org and .