Governor, First Lady share love of reading in southern Utah

Gov. Gary R. Herbert and First Lady Jeanette Herbert joined faculty and students at LaVerkin Elementary School in southern Utah Thursday to tout the importance of reading.

“If you want to be a scientist, doctor, engineer, business person or anything else, you must first get a great education. One of the best ways to do that is by reading,” the governor told students at a school assembly.

Gov. and Mrs. Herbert also read to kindergarteners, sharing some of their favorite books. The governor said he learned to love reading as a child from one of his teachers, Mr. Hansen, and by reading “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn.”

Adult illiteracy costs the Unites States an estimated $240 billion each year in lost productivity and unrealized tax revenues, and due to the cost of welfare, poverty and crime, according to the National Adult Literacy Survey.

Fortunately, Utah consistently ranks as one of the nation’s leaders in literacy. Still, the governor said, just one Utah child or adult who cannot read is one too many.

“I promise you that if you keep reading and learning, and if you commit to finishing your education, you will have the opportunity for a great job and to serve and lead effectively when you are an adult. You will be prepared to make a positive difference – in your family, in your neighborhood, in your town, in our state and in our great country,” the governor said.

The governor and the first lady were joined at the school by a number of dignitaries, including KSL-TV anchor Nadine Wimmer, LaVerkin Mayor Kerry Gubler, Virgin Mayor Bruce Densley, Utah Rep. Brad Last, Utah Sen. Evan Vickers, Miss Utah Krissia Beatty, and several members of the Brigham Young University football team, among others.