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A Tale of Two Schools Bearden Elementary Walton Elementary
The Documentary The Challenge Get Involved
The Documentary
Narrator Morgan Freeman
Producer Q and A
Transcript
Show Credits
Partners and Advisors
Morgan Freeman - Interview

Q: What has reading done for you from both personal and professional perspectives?

A: Well, I'm an actor and there is no such thing as an actor who doesn't read. Without the ability to read well, it would be very difficult to get work because we have to be knowledgeable about a diverse body of work, like the classic plays by Ibsen, Chekov, Shakespeare, Odets, Inge, and Williams. Some actors are even dyslexic, but that doesn't seem to deter them. It is more important to have a passion to learn and develop those skills by pushing aside the obstacles.

Q: Were you a good reader as a child? Do you remember learning to read? Did your own children learn to read easily?

A: I was a very good reader as a child. I began reading for real around the age of eight. My first book was "Black Beauty." I think my children were like the rest of the children in this country. I remember reading to them, and our houses have always been full of books; but as long as the television is on, there is little or no incentive for reading.

Q: Were you surprised by anything you've learned from A Tale of Two Schools about the current state of reading in America? Disappointed?

A: Unfortunately I was not surprised about the current state of reading in America. I am disappointed. I grew up with books, which I believe are the main food for imagination. Today's youth are glued to the television set and that almost completely stifles imagination.

Q: Do you have a theory about the problems facing struggling readers today?

A: If television is the continuing wave of the future, then reading as we know it may come to be a thing of the past. We've seen that television has the power to educate as well as entertain. This happens on a basic level. But it does not then encourage people to turn off the television and pick up a book instead.

Q: Why did you make time to narrate our show?

A: I made time to narrate your show because I believe any encouragement of reading and education is necessary.

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Photo Credit for Bearden Elementary: Maude Schuyler Clay
Photo Credit for Walton Elementary: Chris Hamilton

Produced by WETA Reading Rockets