“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
Once in a while I eavesdrop on academics who talk about reading. The subject fascinates me so I don’t even try to resist leaning closer when I have a chance to listen in on their discussions.
So color me surprised when I discovered my favorite reading experts believed our children are in the process of segregating themselves into two reading groups: those who form the I’m-a-reader-but-I-don’t-care variety, the majority who read only for practical purposes while the other kids fall into the I’m-a-reader-who-cares-a-lot family, a minority who treasure books.
It’s what a team of researchers dubbed The Reading Class, a divide between those in the 21st century who read book regularly and others who don’t.
Learning about this “divide” was the equivalent of a five alarm fire. Man the stations! Get the books! Quick someone grab a copy of Fahrenheit 451!
That is until I realized the reading experts weren’t disturbed. In fact, their attitude toward the shrinking reading-for-pleasure group, was, oh, so, que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.
The very people who best know the advantages reading offers, not only to elementary or high school kids, but also to adults, essentially gave a big fat yawn.
Teachers know it. Parents know it. Even kids know it.
“Kids of all ages see a correlation between reading and success.” – Kids & Family Reading Report, 2008
As the old saying goes, eavesdroppers seldom hear good things, and certainly I walked away with low spirits. Reading books cannot become a hobby for a few nerdy bookworms.
In light of that conversation, I ask you to make a point to share a book with a child today. Tonight. And tomorrow. Read together. Listen to a book-on-tape. Buy a book. Borrow a book. Lend a book. Download a book.
Let’s read so that books and recreational reading never becomes an adventure only a few enjoy.