Covid-19 and the Gift of Reading
Has there ever been a better time to focus on reading than now, when teachers, parents and kids alike are forced to stay home?
Just how much can one do at home during a pandemic if they do not read? There are only so many movies and so many series on television. There are only so many hours that can be spent in front of a video game or a computer. At some point, reading will start to look good, even to non-readers.
I welcome the opportunity to speak to your staff or professional group on this important topic of reading. My agent/friend Chris is easily accessible for any questions/suggestions. Simply click here...
For those who are not familiar with my book The Gift of Reading, this is a brief overview.
In it, I detail the three elements it takes to become a reader - the necessities based on the teachings of Maria Montessori.
1. Time. Children will read when they are ready. To think that we can force four year olds to read because we seem to be of the notion that this will give them a leg up on other students when the educational race begins is simply wrong. Every child is unique and will read when it pleases them, not someone else.
2. A hero. There are exceptions to every rule, but the rule is that every child needs a hero to look up to...someone who will give them the gift of reading.
3. Books. To want to read, the reader has to be able to see themselves in a book and has to have the skills necessary to read/to access that book. And these books do exist. Books that include readers and are accessible to them. It is for us to find and share them.
There are three main reasons that the gift of reading is the single greatest gift we can offer our youth:
- No matter how poor, underprivileged, shy or challenged a child might be, it is through reading that he or she can best access anyone or anything, at any time in history.
- Reading empowers and offers a sense of fullness. Readers have full tanks. Non-readers run on fumes.
- Readers can succeed in school. Non-readers are destined to struggle if not fail. Sadly, even children who might have reading in them, but who are slow starters, usually fall in that category. Our schools are not serving all our children; they are serving children who read. And more and more, they are serving children who read at an early age.
And there are three major obstacles in giving the gift of reading:
1. Poor modeling from parents and educators
2. An obsession with the electronic screen
3. Excessive testing and poor educational practices
Many parents and educators are not aware of their roles in promoting literacy. And of those who are, many are finding the process challenging.
There is no magic in doing what has to be done. There is no toy or program that can do the job for us. Promoting reading takes time, commitment and most of all, fire. We cannot hope to build a fire in the heart of others without a flame burning in our own. Light and stoke your fires, then spread the flame fast and furious. Let literacy be your legacy.
In upcoming blogs, I will offer a few suggestions on what books might appeal to various age and interest groups.
And again, I welcome the opportunity to speak to your staff or professional group on this important topic of reading. My agent/friend Chris is easily accessible for any questions/suggestions. Simply click here...
Maya Angelou: “Parents do what we know how. When we know better, we do better.”