This morning, I saw a Tedx talk on why it is important to read more. The speaker Kelly Corrigan, stated that 33% of people who graduate high school never pick up another book and if a person goes to college, only 42% of them would pick up a book for pleasure after school is over. I’m not sure where she got that statistic, but it seems just about right. I must admit that if I didn’t truly love books and taking that adventure through the pages, I am not ever really required to sit and just read a book for pleasure.
The teacher in me wonders: how can I instill a love of books with my elementary aged students now so that they are apart of the 33 and 42 percent rather than the other 65-75% of the population? I spoke with a parent of one of my children this morning and she asked me how she could motivate her daughter to read more and not make it a chore. I volunteered to spend some time with her daughter in the hopes that it will help her to become more enthusiastic about reading and school in general. I don’t know how successful I will be, but hopefully I can do something positive in her life this summer.
My hope for her is that she develops a love of information so that she can become successful in life. That will really help her to be successful in life and especially college. College was difficult for me, but what made me successful was my love of learning and reading. If I only read because I had to, I don’t think I would be able to make the connections I did while writing papers or communicate with people later in life. This love actually makes me a better teacher.
After watching this 8 minute clip, I realized that though the speaker was talking and imploring adults to read more, it is more important to spread this message to our children. They have to understand that the love of reading and the choice to read books years after they are required actually happens way before high school graduation. It starts now. We are in the information age, so perhaps imploring everyone to stop using Google is not the best idea, but maybe what I could suggest is asking parents, teachers, aunts and uncles to join a book club with their youngster. Read the book together (Actually read the book again if you’ve already done so) and then talk about it. Find out what they are interested in reading and introduce them to new authors or related genres. I’m not promising that they will become bookworms, but perhaps they will remember this when they graduate high school and college and they go to the beach with their e-reader filled with novels instead of Candy Crush. I am sure that their future selves will thank you for helping to expand their vocabulary and their world view.
The future starts today!
Here is the link to the talk if you are interested