Why we all need to read
|Liseuse by Charles de Steuben (1788-1856)|
If I had an addiction it would be books and reading.
I love books.
I buy books.
I own too many books.
I lend books to friends.
I love to read books.
I love to read books.
My books are loved and well read.
Reading came late to me, I started at the age of 12. But don't worry, I caught very quickly and overtook my school friends. I was just delayed. Not because my parents didn't read to me. They did . . . lots of wonderful stories and poems. I come from a home full of books and I have past on that love to my sons. Reading allows you to escape and travel the world from the comfort of your lounge chair. It allows you to explore ideas (big or small). It allows you to meet interesting people who have been dead for centuries. It allows you to run away into your mind. I couldn't imagine living in a world without books and reading.
But reading isn't all about books . . . we need to have the skill of reading to find employment . . . to pay our bills . . . to buy the groceries . . . to obtain a mortgage to buy a house . . . to bake a cake . . . to teach our children. Reading is a core skill that we all need. BUT . . .
just under half (46%) of adult Australians cannot confidently read newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle (2006 National Australian Bureau Statistics Literacy Survey).
This is a horrifying statistics - half of our adult population cannot read adequately. Shameful to say the least.
If they can't read a recipe or a newspaper, they cannot partake of one of life’s great joys – a ‘good read’ as I love to do and how sad is that.
Why has this happened . . . there are many factors contributing to this and the answer isn't straight forward. I don't think it is simply the fault of goverment (over many years), I think the family (our first connection to books) plays a vital part in introducing a child to reading and creates the bond that lasts forever. In the Australian Longitudinal Study of Children, those children who were read to often were far more likely to enjoy reading than those who were read to occassionally. Higher education of the parents also made a differences (this may be linked to the higher incomes that parents with degrees earn and therefore able to access more resources), however, whether a mother worked or not, played very little in the outcome. But not surprising, two parent families saw a greater percentage of children reading for leisure compare to one-parent families. Children who watch TV have less time for leisure reading as would be expected. And, as we all know, trips to the library creates a positive relationship with books.
Basically as parents we need to read to our children, surround our children with books and languages and encourage them to love books so they grow up to become adults who can read. It is a life skill that is complete necessary.