It breaks my heart to hear kids say they “hate to read”. Sadly, many of them are reflecting the negative feeling their parents have projected, instead of opening themselves up to the experience. Without even realizing it, many parents have closed the door to a world of wonder to which their progeny may never gain access. I recently read an article suggesting another contributing factor to their hatred- teachers who use reading assignments and book reports as a punishment, in schools. It got me thinking. That sort of mentality has crept into our society’s perception so stealthily that, perhaps, we haven’t even noticed it.
Take, for example, the news. Once upon a time, people learned about what was happening, in the world, through newspapers. Some of you may argue that newspapers are still in publication and, perhaps, you even subscribe. Yet, statistically, subscriptions to print publications, both newspapers and magazines, have rapidly declined. I know what you’re going to say. Digital copies have replaced paper and it is better for the environment. I am all for “going green” but think about it for a minute. When you go online and look at news sites, most of the stories are videos. More and more, I am finding that you can’t even find the transcription of the video to read. I know because I like my news to be as slant-free as possible so I prefer to read it, rather that allow the inflections of the newscasters voice to sway my judgment. At the rate we’re going, reading the news, either paper or electronic, will be a thing of the past.
The same could be said of books. If I had a penny for every time I heard someone say, “I’ll just wait for the movie”, I wouldn’t just be rich, I’d be J.K. Rowling rich! Even when I was in school, many of my friends would rent the movie rather than read the books. Just an FYI to any high school students out there, most of the time, the movies are only loosely based on the books. (very, very loosely) Your teachers know this and will specifically ask you questions, based on the book, that were the exact opposite in the movie.
I know that, if you’re reading this, I am preaching to the choir. You probably love to read as much as I do. I hope that you share that love with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, basically, everyone. Let’s show the next generation how magical reading can be and let them learn to fall in love with books. I don’t care if they’re e-books, paperback, or hardcover, as long as they read. I think I’m going to grab my well-worn copy of The Stand and head to bed. Sleep well.