A new study from Ohio State University found that children whose parents read them five age-appropriate books a day entered kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than children who were not read to.

The study concluded that “kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school and are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily.”

This makes great sense and is very encouraging for parents who read to their children and pay attention to these studies.

No mention is made of parents who cannot or do not read to their children. A previous study identified a 30-million word gap between the number of words children from high-poverty neighborhoods hear by the time they start school compared to children from other neighborhoods.

According to data reported in The Post and Courier, these children in our local elementary schools do not read on grade level and are at risk for dropping out.

Many parents in these neighborhoods work multiple jobs to make ends meet, which leaves less time to spend with their children. Many of these parents have low literacy skills and cannot help their children, no matter how much they want to.

One way to close the gap is to support adult education programs like Trident Literacy. These programs help adults gain the skills they need to help their children and to qualify for jobs and higher education.

Our students at Trident Literacy want to help their childen and set an example for them. They want to earn a decent living and reverse the cycle of poverty and illiteracy.

Research confirms that a mother’s reading skill is the strongest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income.

What we need is more support for programs like ours that are making a difference.

Otherwise, these studies are empty words.

EILEEN CHEPENIK

Executive Director

Trident Literacy Association

Rivers Avenue

North Charleston

Santee Cooper

Why does Governor McMaster want to raise electric rates on Santee Cooper customers?

If Santee Cooper is sold, that will be the result. I urge all interested parties to go to www.statehouse.gov, to view the archived Senate Judiciary Committee meeting of 11 a.m. April 2.

Sen. Luke Rankin, R-Conway, invited executives from Southern Company and Dominion Power to testify. These are power industry professionals who run utilities for a living.

All the executives explained that if Santee Cooper is sold, rates will jump 15 percent from their current value at the time of sale.

It was explained by these industry experts that the four advertised purchase offers that supposedly would defease Santee Cooper’s debt, or pay off the debt, are smoke-and-mirrors offers.

The governor and others who want to sell Santee Cooper and believe there will be savings for the electric customer are mistaken.

Go online to view the meeting archive. Listen to the professionals that run the utilities. Don’t listen to the talking heads on the radio from Palmetto Promise Institute, or the governor or Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney. They don’t run utilities for a living. Listen to the professionals who operate power companies. They are the experts.

R.G. LONG

Smithfield Avenue

Summerville

Costly roads

Much attention has been directed to the many causes of Charleston’s worsening traffic: population growth, increased commercial traffic and the lack of infrastructure expansion.

Insufficient attention has been given to maintaining the roads. My wife and I have replaced 10 broken car windshields and repaired others in the last four years from flying debris on I-526 between U.S. Highway 17 and the Clements Ferry exit.

Nearly everyone I know has had a similar incident. Debris, including construction materials, furniture, abandoned vehicles and other hazards, seemingly sit for days or weeks on the roadside.

The state Department of Transportation should direct more attention to providing safer roads. The frequency of damage to our cars and the expense of repairing them is unacceptable to all.

JOEL COOK

Ralston Creek Street

Daniel Island

‘No Way Out’

I wanted to salute your two reporters, Jennifer Berry Hawes and Angie Jackson, for their ecletic, well-researched and brilliantly written piece, “No Way Out,” in the April 14 Post and Courier.

It was a remarkably riveting and well-crafted report. Ms. Hawes and Ms. Jackson should be showered with kudos from their bosses, and The Post and Courier congratulated for publishing this illuminating and humanizing journalistic gem. Really impressive.

KEVIN HILDRETH

Law Lane

Mount Pleasant

Restaurant review

If a local restaurant does not want to be reviewed, then don’t do it. If it doesn’t want the benefits of a good review (as restaurant critic Hanna Raskin insinuated in the April 10 Post and Courier), that’s on the business owner.

That’s not what our restaurant critic does. Our critic doesn’t go there, doesn’t really have anything to say but reviews the place anyway.

There are so many other places to try, or try again if you wrote about them in the past. To go through the trouble of explaining the drama-rich saga to us instead of a restaurant review, well, that’s just drivel for the gossip columns.

And please don’t review a restaurant unless it’s been open for at least 2 months, you know, to iron out any kinks.

Your readers thank you in advance for restaurant reviews. If it is “unstarred,” spare us from the nonreview.

PHILLIS MAIR

Backwater Court

Charleston

Medical marijuana

In regard to Brian Hicks’ April 12 column about medical marijuana, I think it might be short-sighted, perhaps even bullheaded or old-fashioned, to come down strongly on one side of the argument or the other, given the available data.

For example, Mr. Hicks notes the use of marijuana for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. There are no clinical trials of cannabis for treatment of PTSD, but there are four observational studies. All four showed the worsening of PTSD symptoms with cannabis, and three of the four showed improvement in symptoms with withdrawal of cannabis.

As to the fact that 33 states have already passed medical marijuana legislation, I would remind Mr. Hicks that 30 states voted to elect Donald Trump president of the United States.

There is big money on both sides of the medical marijuana issue. Data should be interpreted with caution, and we should consider the issue judiciously. It does little good to claim that one side or the other “simply doesn’t understand science.”

ARCHIBALD HAMPTON

Sayle Road

Charleston