Andrea Vinley Jewell writes over at Family.org, Focus on the Family’s website, that
“In today’s fast-paced world, reading often rides in the backseat of the entertainment car. While advances in technology have made for impressive entertainment choices, it’s important to remember that reading is the only entertainment medium that’s also an essential life skill.”
She goes on to list specific benefits: Reading
- boosts intelligence,
- provides competence in school and for future jobs,
- and inspires the imagination like no digital medium can.
So true, so true. You see this in the classroom as clear as crystal. Student’s who have been readers know more, have more categories to put things into, are able to synthesize divergent concepts into a unified whole, and just plain understand what they are reading. It all spells success in the classroom in their jobs.
Readers can also park their behinds in a chair and wade through material for longer periods of time, translating into much higher productivity when they study, which is to say, they get better grades because they know more. Non-readers have shorter attention spans and, just like Dad with the remote control, they’re always switching from one thing to another without getting deep into anything.
What produces good readers? A lot of things come to mind, but foremost are
- Parents: parents that read to their kids are much more likely to raise kids that read. The library is chock-a-block full of great books for kids. Kid’s librarians take their jobs seriously and its serious fun. I would love that job.
- Good Books: Here, also, parents can excercise a lot of influence. Get involved in selecting good books. And the books you read with your kids helps them develop a taste for the good stuff. Treasure Island is hard to beat. So is Because of Winn Dixie. There are many many more. Just go looking for them.
Of course, you can make mistakes. Some books just stink, no doubt about it. Example: I bought a Zooey 101 book for my daughter throught the Scholastic Book Club, on the chance it might be ok. Its based on a Nick TV series-I should have seen this one coming, but I admit that I didn’t at all.
OOOOOhhh! it chills me to think how bad that book is. My daughter won’t even open the cover and read the first page. She knew as soon as she saw it that it would be more effective as an inducement to emesis than brain food.
On the other hand, a good book is almost impossible to put down. I’m now catching my third-grader reading late at night and early in the morning when she should be sleeping. I tell her to go to sleep, of course, but this reading disease seems to run in the family. My wife and I both caught it from our Dads, and who knows how long its been running in the family.