Reading Nana’s Magic Swing at North Memorial School this past week gave me a chance to engage with some wonderful kids and staff, but it also prompted me to think hard about the act of reading, which lead to this…
Imagine a world without reading…
Right now, close your eyes. And try really hard to imagine a world without reading. Imagine a day in your life, going about your business, without reading a single word. Step completely into the experience and let yourself stay there for a few minutes. Then open your eyes and appreciate the fact that you can read these words and follow these instructions.
February may not be at the top of your list when it comes to favourite months, but one of the true accomplishments of February is that it is “I Love to Read” month, a celebration of the billions and billions of written words consumed by eager readers across the globe every day. A chance to highlight the importance of reading and to champion the cause of literacy. An opportunity to engage and encourage children to keep pushing forward in their quest to learn that next word or tackle that next story. A moment to pause and consider children who are excluded from participating. Perhaps a time to think about supporting the cause of literacy in some way.
Because reading brings us information, entertains us, sparks our joy and wonder, makes us laugh and brings us to tears. Reading takes us to places we will never visit and makes it possible for us to find our way around the places we do. Reading helps us to understand one another, gives wings to great ideas and sometimes gives pause, or wings, to bad ones. Reading brings life to our plays and movies and songs and poems. If given opportunity, reading transforms lives and lifts people out of poverty and despair. Reading helps us understand the past and predict the future. It connects us and, sadly, sometimes divides us. It transports culture and ideas from generation to generation. Reading facilitates mass communication. It opens our minds to all that is good and sometimes not so good. The written word bears record of it all.
Reading is the ultimate town crier. It gives notice to gather during times of celebration, times of sadness and times of great change.
Reading has the power to change us and to change the world.
What could possibly be more important than that?
Every year, schools and libraries and other community spaces in parts of Canada and the United States are transformed for the month of February. Classrooms and multi-purpose spaces come alive with displays, activities, artistic endeavors, author visits and readings by special guests. If you have not been in a school or a library for a while, visit one, or check out the incredibly creative ideas available on-line. See firsthand what lengths teachers, librarians and other lovers of the written word will go to in their efforts to promote reading and literacy in its many forms.
Imagine a world without reading….