This is a subject I’ve wanted to write about for years. Why I haven’t until now? Well, other topics rose to the top of my list and I have always pushed it back down thinking no one is really interested in this topic. Buy we all should. It’s increasingly obvious over the years that, generally, people don’t read anymore. There are friends of mine that are , or seem to be astute in several areas but when asked they tell me they received the information from some television program. I’m not saying that’s bad, but if someone wants to become a Subject Matter Expert, even as an amatier on. something, they need to read.
With the exception of universities and colleges, all around this country public libraries are failing. People just don’t go there anymore. Bookstores, everywhere, are going out of business. Some say it’s because of the advent of business like Amazon, but that’s too easy. Jeff Bezos started his company selling books (I bought more than a few in the early days), but that’s not the real reason. People just don’t read very much anymore. They may read the occasional article online, and that’s good, but how many people take the time ut of their lives to sit and actually read a book? I argue here, few.
Of my generation, the so called “boomers” I think there are still a lot of us that read regularly. I can’t say for sure how many, but of those I know personally, every one of us read books: novels, history, science fiction – whatever, on a regular basis. I haven’t looked recently, but the last time I saw a survey, demographically, I was shocked to see that those 18-24 read 0-6 books a year with the majority in that category reading zero. Those 25-34? A bit better but not much: 3-4 book per year.
The older the demographic, the higher the number became. Why is that? I can only speak for myself but it was because as a child, I was encouraged to read. Not by my parents telling me to read, but by example. My parents were always reading. Not every evening, but enough that it made an impression upon me at an early age. Remember as a kid the biggest day of your life? Was it when you passed your drivers test and received your license? Mine was, and I’m not kidding, getting my library card when I was six.
Entire new worlds opened up for me. I travelled to exotic countries, met strange creatures on planets far away, solved crimes. I was hooked for life and I have to say, I think my kid id as well. Since her earliest years, she’s seen me reading. What do kids do at five or six years old is often mimic what they see their parents do and that’s why it’s important to display those qualities to them as early as possible.
Reading engages the mind and I think helps to develop not just language skills but critical thinking as well. It doesn’t matter what you read: a newspaper, magazine, fiction or non-fiction books, all of these contribute to mental acuity over time.
If you’re not encouraging your kids by setting the example, you should. Many students entering college today do not have the reading skills to compete there. In many cases, they aren’t even at a high school reading level. Shocking, isn’t it? Pouring more money into school systems won’t alleviate that, kids that learn that reading can actually be a fun activity, will.