The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~ Dr. Seuss
No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance. ~ Confucius
Reading. For some, the ultimate in enjoyment and relaxation, and for others absolute torture. Yet, regardless of where a person falls on that continuum, reading is so critical to an individual’s ability to function in this world. While I will not be as bold as to say a person cannot live a life without being able to read, I will state that a life without literacy is a life that will find greater challenges and fewer opportunities.
Frederick Douglass said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Indeed, the ability to read opens doors that enhances our freedom. We become freer as we gain access to the multitude of knowledge and resources the world has available on the internet. (You know, like the magnificent resource to be found in wonderful blogs!!!) 🙂 The fast rise of the internet world has created a new age where literate individuals can access a plethora of information at the touch of a button (or computer key). If I can read, then I can navigate the internet to learn anything from how to change the oil in my car to basket weaving to baking a gluten-free seven-layer rainbow cake.
Richard Steele said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” I do find this to be true. When we read (even “fluff” novels) we are exercising our minds. We are challenging ourselves to imagine, to learn, to envision, to dream. When I read a book of fiction, I love to allow myself to get lost in the story and as I do so, I am fortunate enough to travel to the world the author has artistically portrayed. When I read non-fiction, it opens my world up – I learn about individuals, history….. and I learn to challenge myself and my place in this world in light of the new information I am digesting. If I am able to do so, then I can integrate that knowledge and use it to better myself, my work environment, and my overall community. Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” And another great leader, Abraham Lincoln, stated, ” The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” Yes, president Lincoln, I feel the same way. I can think of few greater gifts than that of a good book.
Yet, reading is not all about the acquisition of knowledge. C.S. Lewis stated, “We read to know we are not alone.” There have been times in my life that have been incredibly lonely. I had either moved to a new town, broken up a long-term relationship, or needed more time on my own. In these moments, when there is no one around, a book is a great comfort. Books become our world that entertains and comforts us, that challenges us to hold on, to persevere.
As I work with children and in education, I am always fascinated by the diversity of parental attitudes and opinions towards children and reading. Some parents are apathetic about children and reading. In some cases, these parents are individuals who struggle to read themselves or are not people who enjoy books. I also know many parents who are constantly fighting with their children in order to make them read more – requiring an hour or so of reading a day, coupled with summaries and essays of the books they have read. Some parents greatly monitor the types of books their children read as well. I think this is a very important, but slippery slope that must be carefully walked. I agree that books should be monitored for age-appropriate content and for values that a family feels comfortable with, but I also think that children need to read and it is important that the books they are reading will continue to nurture their love of reading. My partner tells a story of a fascination with comic books as a child. What torture rained down on her mother and father for purchasing a multitude of comic books for her to read! Many were judgmental that a child should be reading classics, and not the “comic book trash.” They felt that reading a comic book had very little literary value and would not be good educationally. Today my partner holds a PhD in American Literature….. I think the comic books served their purpose, in a positive way. Maya Angelou, agrees with the aforementioned concepts, ” Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
I am fortunate to have two daughters who love to read… in fact, we are a family of readers. We enjoy that quiet solace that comes from tucking ourselves in and devouring a good novel. I am so thankful that my daughters feel the same way as my partner and I do about books. We encourage them to read constantly and never say no when they are in need of more books.
What about your family? Do you read? If your child struggles to read, you can work with them and make reading more fun. You can take a novel they are interested in and read it to them, asking them to read an occasional sentence or paragraph to you. You can plan a family reading night once a week, and as a family you can read a book aloud and discuss it. And, most importantly, you can model a love for reading – make sure your children see you read.
So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall. ~ Roald Dahl
Today, 306 days ’til 40, I am thankful for books and for being literate. Books were a saving grace to me personally during rough patches as a child, and are now a wonderful escape from life’s daily grind. I read books the “old-fashioned” way, on a Kindle, on a Nook, on an iPad and on my computer. No matter what physical form they take, they comfort and entertain me and challenge my thinking. Books are to my brain as water is to a thirsty soul – I hunger for them at the end of a long day.
April 21, 2012 at 00:25
Reblogged this on Smile if your sexy! and commented:
Fantastic article greatly appreciated.
April 21, 2012 at 01:04
I loved to read as a child, in fact my mom and I were the only real readers of the family. My brother and sister detested reading, still do. I don’t read as much as I should, but still enjoy it when I happen to pick up a book.
April 22, 2012 at 00:24
I think that sometimes we forget to pick up a book as we get caught up in all of the daily demands life throws at us. Yet, when we make that time, we rarely regret it.
April 21, 2012 at 01:04
I read a lot. I despise Dr. Suess.
I’m the only one I know that has read Beverage and The Progressive Era.
April 22, 2012 at 00:23
April 22, 2012 at 11:33
Hi there, sorry for random interruption. I was just wondering why you despise Dr Seuss?
April 22, 2012 at 11:34
Yes, I would also like to know the answer to this question, thank you mskatykins for asking.
April 22, 2012 at 19:56
Not the early books, but the man, Ted.
The early books got a second wind and started making a lot of money, plus the toys and all that. Ted was becoming a celebrity and went about talking to little children. He was also carrying on with his best friend’s wife and wanted to marry her.
Conveniently, Ted’s wife Helen, whom he was married to during the writing of the early books, died of barbituate poisoning. It was considered a suicide..
Ted married his sweetie and did just fine.
The problem I have with Ted is that the stuff he wrote after Helen died was very different from the early books. Some more of his writings have been found recenty and those too are very different.
You can draw your own conclusions, but I think Ted was a rum one.
This is the polite version.
April 22, 2012 at 20:18
Ooh… the real man behind the madcap stories… I can understand why you’ve taken a dislike to him. He is usually presented as such a wholesome character which obviously seems in direct contrast to what you’ve stated here and, of course, the image that he presented through his writing… Thanks for replying to this. 🙂
April 21, 2012 at 01:28
My children both loves books and reading as do I. I treasure reading time at the conclusion of each day with them. Interestingly enough, my daughter does struggle with reading comprehension and fluency at school. To help her, a family friend tutors her each week. This same friend has offered to help me out with improving my son’s literacy as well.
April 22, 2012 at 00:22
Wow, what a great friend you have! I have found that you can teach a love of reading to children who struggle to read if you find a way to make it fun and interesting and support them while they continue to learn.
April 21, 2012 at 01:29
I agree wholeheartedly! I’ve been an avid reader since I was nine, and I read every day. Besides numerous blog posts and Internet articles, I read the equivalent of a novel, or book, every week. Sherry reads more than I do; it’s a big part of our lives.
April 22, 2012 at 00:21
It is such a good thing! Like you, I do a lot of reading via the internet, but I am also reading books daily as well (usually on my Nook Kindle or Ipad)…….. times have changed, but the written word is still there and powerful, whether in electronic or “old fashioned” forms.
April 22, 2012 at 00:32
I have a Kindle, and I love it! I thought it would save me money, but I can buy books so easily and quickly, I just read more! DOH!
April 22, 2012 at 01:20
Yes, I have the same problem!!! 🙂
April 21, 2012 at 01:48
Always buried in a book…we love Roald Dahl in my house.
April 22, 2012 at 00:19
We do too! 🙂
April 21, 2012 at 03:10
I know what you mean about books. My son (who reads voraciously) was once told by his English literature teacher that his chosen favourite book (at that time Stephen King) was rubbish and most definately NOT literature…in my opinion reading is like art. Whatever floats your boat. I too have a family of readers and I have just returned to the fold after many years wandering in the wilderness. I am devouring Mary Anne Schaffer’s (of “The Guernsey Literary and potato peel pie Society fame) list of favorite books. I know that if I find an author that speaks directly to me, they tend to have similar taste to me. I discovered a plethora of amazing authors and now, despite still working my way through the enormous list, I have a second list of “must reads” to leap into garnered from this first list of books. I just finished a book called “A Covenant with Death”…I finished the back portion because the dog kindly decided to digest the book in his own literary fashion (sigh…) and with the 100th aniversary of ANZAC day approaching rapidly it was a most poignant reminder of the futility and stupidity of war. Reading takes you places you might otherwise be too uncomfortable to go. It allows you to explore these concepts and fears at your own pace in the privacy of your own brain and allows you to come out the other side wiser than you were before and having learned to quantify your own position about your place in the world. I call myself a “quintessential magpie” because I have a voracious appetite for knowledge and information. Reading started that and no matter where in the social scheme of things you find yourself, there is always a way to read, libraries are free and at the moment…so is the internet. Cheers for another thought provoking and well written post. I might have to start paying you rent for these comments! 😉
April 22, 2012 at 00:19
Thank you for the compliment and also your thought-provoking comment! I agree with you that there is always a way to find reading materials, and there are many free resources available. It makes such a difference!
April 21, 2012 at 04:40
My mother had a very stressful life with raising 10 children…for the most part with no active participation from my father….Whenever she could get any time to herself she would be engrossed in a book.
Thank goodness for libraries because she could never afford to buy them!
I acquired my love for reading and whatever writing that I did, from my wonderful Mom…..Diane
April 22, 2012 at 00:18
Wow, what a wonderful gift your mom gave you by modeling and cultivating that love for reading. I often think that we should utilize local libraries more (my mom always took us to the library growing up)… now everything is on our Kindles…. crazy how times change.
April 21, 2012 at 09:28
Reading is absolutely essential to our emotional survival. I believe there’s not much you can talk about with a person who doesn’t read anything. except perhaps the sports column of a daily newspaper, which is indeed sad. Great article, and thank you for sharing it with us. Lucianus
April 22, 2012 at 00:16
Thank you for your comment. I agree with you completely! 🙂
April 21, 2012 at 09:34
I love reading and agree with you that it is so important to read from an early age. I like your choice of quotes. How about this one: “We read to know that we are not alone.”
― C.S. Lewis
April 22, 2012 at 00:16
Yes, I do love the CS Lewis quote, which is why I used it! 🙂
April 22, 2012 at 00:34
April 21, 2012 at 11:10
Once again, thanks for writing. There would be no readers if there were no writers, so keep writing, and I will keep reading. 🙂
April 21, 2012 at 19:56
April 21, 2012 at 11:30
My mother was a reader, my father not. His learning style is listening and watching. He soaks up knowledge that way, but a book? He is not struggling, until he get to put it into practice. One of my nephews dislikes history but loves comics. So I told my mum to get him history books in comic form and though he does not love it, it has improved his grades.
I have always been an avid reader and still am, though most of my reading these days is either work related or blogs (like yours :-))
Though I think reading is important, just reading and not using the knowledge is also pretty useless. If all you gain do is reading of books but do not implement it then it effectively is still just the book in your head, not wisdom gained.
April 21, 2012 at 19:56
I agree completely…. If we read tons of stuff and do not apply it then it is pointless.
April 21, 2012 at 14:45
Loved the Roald Dahl quote – I grew up in a reading household. If I had a half hour to kill, I would always pick up a book and read a chapter. It wouldn’t even occur to me to turn on the TV and tune into some “episode”. I hope I can instill the same practice with my own family.
April 21, 2012 at 19:53
Me too! 😉
April 21, 2012 at 15:00
Great entry! I think the most important thing about reading for me has been that it has encouraged me to be an empathetic person. You know the adage, “You’ll never understand how someone feels until you walk a mile in their shoes?” Well, that’s what reading allows you to do, AND you don’t even have to ACTUALLY walk a stupid mile.
April 21, 2012 at 19:44
April 21, 2012 at 15:00
Oh, gosh . . . is there such a thing as reading enough?
April 21, 2012 at 19:52
April 21, 2012 at 15:23
I think this is a fantastic idea for a blog and your writing is interesting and intelligent.
April 21, 2012 at 19:43
Thank you so much!!!
April 21, 2012 at 23:51
April 21, 2012 at 15:41
I have read enough .. about 2000 books I guess. Owned 1500 of them – but moving to a smaller place I could only keep my favorite. Haven’t read a book for about 10 years – have bought 20 and started on 5 maybe. Can’t find the joy in reading anymore … so what happen. You maybe know. Think it internet, DVD’s … reading is the best school of life.
April 21, 2012 at 19:46
Very true…..these things do tend to rob us of the pleasures of reading!
April 21, 2012 at 16:39
I loved this topic! I had gotten away from the enjoyment of reading, what with being a TV-oholic and my mental work trying to finish my parents business as their Advocate. But my sister loaned me The Hunger Game series and I couldn’t put them down! As dark as the storyline was, this was the first time I’d read this author and the first time I wished to be part of a book club to discuss these books. Most importantly, I got away from the TV and my mental woo’s for a few days and now I can’t wait to make time to read everyday.
April 22, 2012 at 00:15
Such a good point, sometimes we just need a good book to capture our attention and bring us back to reading!
April 21, 2012 at 17:11
Books are the only thing that silence my inner dialogue. I can watch TV or listen to music and my head will still be going at 500mph. Sometimes I can sit through an entire program or movie and only have paid attention to 1/3rd of it. Without books my head would have spontaneously combusted by now…
April 22, 2012 at 00:13
Wow, what a great comment – I can really relate, in fact, I am very much the same way. I cannot sleep at night unless I use books to calm and silence my inner dialogue enough to get me to detach from the day. Books are my escape that help me transition from the chaos of daily life into a time to sleep and unwind! 🙂
Young Mom Life
April 21, 2012 at 23:22
I used to LOVE to read! And I still do! The hard part is finding a book that catches my interest now-a-days, which is quite sad. T.T
But now, I kind of replaced it with trying to write. Half the time I stare at a page, trying to figure out how to put the story into words, which tends to be the hardest part. ;P
Love this entry!
April 22, 2012 at 00:11
Thanks for your comment – I am the same way, and often the time spent reading is now spent writing (I try to find a balance). That is what I get for committing to blog for 400 days in a row!!! 🙂 (What was I thinking?????)
Young Mom Life
April 22, 2012 at 00:32
I think it’s brilliant that you’ve STUCK with it! I keep thinking “I will write everyday!”… only to find that my daughter rebels when I try to get on the computer. ;P
I applaud you for actually being able to do it!
April 22, 2012 at 01:21
Thanks, I must admit that I have some days when I curse the commitment I made…… and when I am typing with my eyes barely able to stay open because I know I have committed to daily posting. Well, only 305 days to go! 🙂
April 22, 2012 at 09:41
I wonder what my life would be like if I’d never read Nancy Drew or To Kill a Mockingbird or David Copperfield or Bel Canto or Jacob Have I Loved…but I can’t imagine it. I would be a completely different person.
Great post. Now that you have me thinking, I’ll probably be turning that question over in my mind all night. 🙂
April 22, 2012 at 11:44
I think so too – I also cannot imagine my life without these wonderful books – I also loved Nancy Drew, and many many more! I must say, I LOVE it when my girls read the books that I enjoyed as a child – it is so fun to share that with them. (Though Harry Potter seems to be far more enticing!)
April 22, 2012 at 11:36
Thank you for creating one of the best posts I’ve read in a while! This was excellently written and a real joy to read. You have inspired me to write my own reading related post and, I hope you don’t mind, I’ll be adding a link to this post.
Reading is a crucial part of our existence and sometimes people are too short-sighted to realise that. I love to read and to write and I love to encourage other people to do so (being an English teacher and having previously worked for quite a while in a library, I guess you could argue that it’s an occupational hazard, but I’d disagree, it’s a privilege). This is a really important issue you’ve highlighted and a fab post! Most of my friends and family are readers and that rocks! 🙂
April 22, 2012 at 12:05
Thank you for your wonderful comment! I look forward to reading your post about reading! It really is a crucial part of our existence, and too often over-looked in today’s society. As I am also an educator, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. 🙂
April 22, 2012 at 12:21
Thank you so much for writing it, more like – it really has inspired me! 🙂
April 22, 2012 at 12:25
April 23, 2012 at 01:26
Brilliant! I love the message! However, if a person doesn’t like to read then they likely wouldn’t have read this wonderful piece. So hopefully, those who read it will share it with those you didn’t. I myself will think of a way to feature it in my blog. Thanks!
April 23, 2012 at 09:42
Ah yes, isn’t that always the case? Preaching to the choir! How do we get those non-readers to read this??? 🙂
April 23, 2012 at 10:00
I love this post! And I completely agree with your partner’s parents! — after all, I love many kinds of books…….including mindless trash “beach” novels. Everything one reads, is exposed to, sees and learns results in a “capillary action” and leads to other things, experiences, interests….and books! Thank you for this wonderful post!
April 23, 2012 at 14:28
Thank you! I also love many kinds of books. Needless to say, my partner regularly buys comic books for our girls (which they love). As far as I am concerned, as long as my girls are reading, I am happy. 🙂
April 24, 2012 at 12:26
Excellent post, bravo!
I live for the day when people will read again (in fact I have a draft post about that which has bene sitting for months now!:D).
Your points and arguments here are utterly true and all the wonderful quotes and ideas put forward were a pleasure to read and keep smiling and nodding along with. Here’s another:
“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”
– Mark Twain
April 24, 2012 at 16:01
Thank you!!! Yes, I also live for the day when people are more committed to reading. I almost used the Twain quote you wrote!!!!! 🙂
April 24, 2012 at 21:46
Great minds my friend, great minds… ;D
April 24, 2012 at 15:31
Great post! Reading is SO important! The Maya Angelou quote is so appropriate. Whatever makes someone like reading is what they should read; they shouldn’t be forced. One of my favorite memories as a child is of riding my bicycle to the little library in our town to pick out my weekly books. It was so exciting to me and something I really looked forward to.
April 24, 2012 at 15:57
Yes, definitely! 🙂
The Quiet Borderline
April 24, 2012 at 20:59
I can say that I haven’t a clue what to do with my life in general. Totally lost! But one thing I’d love to do is buy a full encyclopaedia and read it all front to back!
April 24, 2012 at 23:07
🙂 – I LOVE this comment! 🙂
The Quiet Borderline
April 25, 2012 at 17:38
Hehe, thanks 🙂
April 24, 2012 at 22:32
Hi. Thanks for stopping by and liking my post. When I first came to your blog I couldn’t find a connection and here it is in this post. Life without books would be very sad wouldn’t it? I have read some of your other posts and I am looking forward to dropping in from time to time to see how you are getting along.
Although books are great I don’t think they solve the problem of not feeling that you have arrived yet. For that you have to decide where you are going. Do you really want to arrive? The journey is often much better than arriving at the destination.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey and hope that it takes you to many more places before you arrive.
April 24, 2012 at 23:03
Thank you for stopping by ~ I am glad you found a connection and I hope that you do stop by again sometime. Good luck with your own journey too! 🙂
April 25, 2012 at 09:26
Thank you.- I will certainly drop by again as I tapped ‘follow’ 🙂
April 26, 2012 at 22:32
Love the Roald Dahl quote– I just joined a book club to make myself read more novels. Does reading magazines and the internet count? 🙂
April 26, 2012 at 22:41
Me too, isn’t that a wonderful quote? Yes, I do believe (as does my partner, who has a PhD in literature) that reading ANYTHING counts! The key is to be reading, no matter what it is! 🙂
April 27, 2012 at 00:19
I totally agree with that, I think that sort of reading definitely counts! I think in this day and age we have to move beyond the conventional forms of reading. 🙂 A student of mine today proclaimed: “Miss, NOBODY reads by choice!” (Not something a wannabe writer – or English teacher! – wants to hear!)
April 27, 2012 at 07:56
Hopefully one day your student will see that there are many of us that do read by choice! Hopefully they will too! 🙂
April 27, 2012 at 08:46
Me too! I won’t give up! 🙂
May 12, 2012 at 14:50
I have been checking out many of your stories and i can state pretty nice stuff. I will surely bookmark your blog.
February 19, 2013 at 01:25
I’m a huge reader, and I love this post. In fact, the more I read of you, the bigger fan I am.
February 19, 2013 at 22:09
Thank you so much! 🙂