Is Reading Still Fundamental?

A couple of times in the last year I read that there is more good
writing available to us to now than at any other time in history. Some curmudgeonly types will no doubt say there is also more bad writing too. This plethora of new writing (both fiction and non-fiction) is in great part due to the fact that all of us are now publishers or can be. Writing a blog, posting an article on a website, publishing a book or an Ebook is so common now we take it for granted.

Do you see kids reading these days or are they all into computer games? When I visit friends with school age kids and teens, I don't see a lot of books. When I get a chance to strike up a conversation with them, I usually get around to asking if they like to read. The most common answer is they don’t and they only read what they have to for school.

Is that as frustrating for you as it is for me? Why aren't kids reading today? When I was 4 years old my mother took me to the local Carnegie Library and showed me the child section. The library was good sized and a real asset for our small community. We even had a dedicated child librarian. I visited that library weekly until I moved away at age 18. My mom made sure I grew up with a love of books and reading. I have four siblings and every one of us still reads constantly.

I remember reading what seemed like every biography in the library about scientists who made major breakthroughs, athletes who overcame adversity to set world records, and heroes of all types. I was inspired by the stories of their lives.

Who is inspiring your kids today? Miley, Ben, or the latest misogynistic rapper?

Books (whether they are paper or digital) hold the key to a rich and fulfilling life. We would do the world a favor if we took the time to
not only promote literacy but to also see that our children and their children have access to all the books they can devour. Do they still have summer reading clubs for school age kids? Many cities, including my adopted city of Philadelphia, threaten to close or curtail library hours when budgets get tight. What's that say to kids about the value we place on reading?

It starts at home. It starts one child at a time being taken to the library or local bookstore. The babies and toddlers I see seem to have lots of books. Something happens when they get into school. Instead of reading more they seem to become passive participants in life constantly looking for someone or something to stimulate them. Do our schools do this to them?

How about you? If you're reading this blog you probably read a lot. How did you keep your love of reading? Why didn't you lose it during your early school years? How can whatever it is that makes you love reading be duplicated and scaled? Maybe E-Readers are the answer. Maybe interactive video books will be. Maybe the game designers will find a profitable audience of interactive readers. Maybe.

What do you think? What's your answer?

2 thoughts on “Is Reading Still Fundamental?”

  1. As a readaholic, I enjoyed reading this post. I think reading is still very important despite the serious competition it is currently facing from video games and other forms of entertainment.
    I developed my love of reading at home. So you are right there that it starts at home. My parents were avid readers and so it was easy for me to emulate them without even trying.
    By the time I had left childhood behind, my reading habit was well and truly entrenched. So I would say that it’s easier to cultivate an interest in reading when we are very young. I’ve been trying to instill a love of reading in my son since he was a baby and so far, it seems to be working…

  2. @Chichi – Sounds like a great way to start your son off. By the time he’s your age he’ll probably be reading from a head’s up display in a pair of glasses or something even more amazing. Are you still reading real books or have you gone the digital route?

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