The Transylvania Times -

Joy Of Reading


“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild,

To pick up a book and read to a child.”

- Dr. Seuss

Today is “Read Across America Day.” The event coincides, as closely as possible, with the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, who was born on March 2, 1904. Sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), public libraries and other institutions across the nation, it marks the beginning of a week of celebration as students, parents and communities share the joy of reading.

Study after study documents the importance of reading and how the ability or inability to read impacts one’s entire life. Children who cannot read by third grade tend to fall behind their peers. (That is the reason North Carolina has put forth the Read to Achieve initiative. For a breakdown of that program, with its positives and negatives, read Alice Wellborn’s Everyday Education column on page 6B.) On the whole, good readers do better in school, have higher incomes as adults and generally lead better lives. As national political consultant David Gergen told the audience at Brevard College last fall, not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. On the other hand, children who cannot read are more prone to become criminals, earn less income and lead less healthy and prosperous lives.

With the advent of the Internet, video games, cell phones, tablets, etc. the temptation to read or watch short blips of information or entertainment for 20 seconds to 5 minutes is becoming predominant. That only makes it more challenging to teach children to read, particularly when that is what they see many adults doing.

At the impressionable ages when their minds are supple and inquisitive, children do not understand the importance of long-term ramifications. What they do understand is immediate gratification and joy. Dr. Seuss’s books remain popular with children because they are colorful, fun and entertaining. His use of short rhyming words while still telling a fanciful story is brilliant. The Transylvania County Library and local schools are to be commended for offering events to promote the joy of reading with children this week.

Such programs by themselves, however, are not enough to inculcate in children a love of reading. Children often associate an activity with a location. All too often children disassociate learning in school – math, science, writing, reading, etc. – from their lives outside of school. They believe that what they learn in school is only for school and has no application beyond the classroom.

The real love of reading is fostered in the home by parents. It is helpful for parents to read to their children, but it is also important for children to see their parents reading for their own pleasure. Children model their parents, and if they see their parents reading on their own, then that increases the chances of children reading on their own.

Thus, while “Read for America” is directed to children, it is also a good time for adults to rediscover the joy of learning – to sit down and read a novel or poem. There are few things as pleasurable as sitting down amidst quiet, reading a book and communing with the author, whether that is internally debating the merits of an argument or recreating in one’s mind the scenes and characters in a book. This is the joy that adults should share with their children, that reading is not only a means to an end, but an end in itself.

For the joy of reading to take hold in a child, parents must share that joy consistently in the comfort of their homes. And in doing so, enhance the lives of children and adults.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017