R E A D
How long since you held an actual book in your hands? A proper turn the pages, smell the special book smell from a well read book. In the age we live in everything is electronic, including the books we read. I'm still not convinced though that it is getting people to actually read.
How can you not read? How can you deny yourself the pleasure that a well written story will bring you. You immerse yourself into the world of the characters and lose yourself there for a few hours or days. I've had the recent pleasure of reading 2 such books, Still Alice and a South African book published by Kwela Books called One Man. Both held me spellbound from the moment I opened the cover.
I've had other such books in my life. Books which stand out and have carved my path in life. In equal measure I've read books and realised towards the end that I've read it before, clearly didn't make an impact but was still captivating enough for me to pick it up a second time! I couldn't even estimate how many books I've read and at last count I had around 150 books waiting on my shelves to be read....
The benefits of reading a variety of books :
- You learn about other cultures. Books like the Far Pavilions (India), The Kite Runner (Afghanistan) . You realise the world does not revolve around America and London!
- You get to escape your world for a while
- You increase your vocabulary (children especially need this!!!)
- Another one for kids - sentence construction!
- You relax
- It is good for your brain
- You realise that troubles affect everyone and sometimes you even take away something that helps you on your path
Books are constant companions for me. I am always reading something, if not a few books at a time. Biographies are my favourite, followed by well thought out novels. But I won't look down my nose at the occasional trashy novel either, the way I see it I'm still reading. Yet I was a late starter and didn't enjoy reading until late into my teens. So it is never too late to start, remember that!
Reading is also the foundation of all education. Without being able to read properly and with understanding it is almost impossible to do any other subject, even Math. So many children, and sadly their parents, take English for granted, thinking that just getting a standard pass mark is enough. You need so much more to be well rounded in the subject. It is your foundation for understanding all you read, with its subtle meanings and hidden subtexts. It gives you context, meaning and clarity on what you are looking at. It isn't enough that children just look at the words on a page, they actually need to read them out loud to understand them, feel them and remember them.
So foster a love of reading in your children by leading by example. Read books yourself and read to them. If you don't have children volunteer to read at storytime at your local library, orphanage or hospital. If you not a kid person then read to older people who have lost their ability to read. Donate your read books to libraries for the disadvantaged. Don't just read the latest best sellers, buy the classics as well and search odd obscure titles. For this go along to an independent bookstore or even better a little second hand bookshop tucked away, you will be amazed at the treasures you find. Pick up something completely out your comfort zone... you may find a new zone! If you struggle with books read informative articles - brainpickins.org and elephantjournal.com has brilliantly written articles.
Just read, read, read.... and keep reading!