“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin
It’s back-to-school time at my house, which means 3 new grades in school, 3 sets of new teachers, and 3 open houses / curriculum nights.
This year, my sons are in 10th, 8th, and 6th grades. They’re past the elementary years of education in the US, but this year, one of the teacher’s slides on reading caught my eye. I want to share it here.
20 Minutes a Night: Why Reading is Important
In the early years, when my oldest son was learning to read, my husband and I felt like we were on an exponential learning curve. Neither of us are teachers, nor do we have backgrounds in education. When it came time for kindergarten, and then 1st grade, both of us had much to learn on the finer points of helping our child–and then children–to read in the new systems in place at schools.
Every night, we sat with our son, and then sons, and read the primers sent home from school, from the five page booklets to Henry and Mudge, and then more difficult chapter books, etc. Everything was new: listening for the cues, waiting them to self-correct, listening for them to show they understand what they’ve read, and so on.
I’m certainly not a reading specialist, nor a teacher, by any stretch of the word, but I do enjoy reading. I always have. Books are one of the things that I love above all others. So I have watched with keen interest how my sons have developed as readers. One is passionate about books, one not at all, and one lukewarm. They all like different kinds of books and text — one fantasy and history, one non-fiction, one realistic fiction. But the important thing is that they do read.
This slide, from the 6th grade presentation at my youngest son’s school, proves why.
I believe books and education help us to learn about ourselves and others. I believe reading helps open doors to a better world. I believe when a person reads a book and steps into another world, he or she becomes more versed about the world around them, about the problems others face, and helps them to realize they are not alone.
With books, with education, a nation can become less ignorant, less prejudiced, less fearful.
With reading, we can learn that no matter the color of our skin, or our cultures, or our backgrounds, religions, and language, we are all parts of something larger — a story.
By reading books, 20 minutes a night, for children and adults alike, we become enriched in our thoughts and behaviors.
We become unified.
It is a powerful thing, reading.
I encourage you to read.
Find a book you might enjoy. How?
A group of 8 friends and I recommend 1 great book each week at http://GreatNewBooks.org. We all have different reading tastes, and our site is divided by types of books. It’s easy to use. I hope you stop by, and sign up to receive our once weekly email with that week’s book recommendation.
For children’s books, visit Common Sense Media .
Also, Goodreads.com is a great resource for books.
This school year, make it a priority to read. If not for yourself, to read with your children. It is fundamental for a better future, a better life.
Do you have a favorite book recommendation site? Where do you find your books? And, have you read any great books lately? If so, please share!
Thank you, and happy reading!