The Importance of Reading

Reading is very important in our lives.  It is truly a skill which we use every single day.  I believe that the key to creating lifelong readers starts at home.  If a child is raised in a home where books and other reading materials like magazines and newspapers are enjoyed on a daily basis, he or she is much more likely to also develop a love of reading.  Reading can bring such joy, transporting a reader to another place without even leaving the chair!  Our former first lady, Laura Bush, has had a lifelong "love affair" with reading.  In an article back in 2008, Mrs. Bush is quoted as saying, "a nation that does not read for itself cannot think for itself, and a nation that cannot think for itself risks losing both its identity and its freedom...Bush called the passion for reading, 'learned behavior that should be taught at home and at schools.'"  

Another very interesting thought on reading was quoted by Roberta Messner who was remembering something her friend, Vivian, said.  Vivian recalled that, as a young child, she ran home from school to announce, "We're not poor!  My teacher said the whole world's mine because I'm learning to read!"  Can't you just imagine the excitement of young Vivian when she discovered the riches that reading can provide?

In the June 27, 2014 issue of New Hampshire Union Leader Karen Kaplan reported on the importance of reading. Among other things, her report says, "Books are like medicine, and pediatricians should prescribe their daily use to build up the brains of their youngest patients, according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Parents should read aloud to their infants every day and continue to do so at least until their children enter kindergarten, the academy's Council on Early Childhood advised...Pediatricians should emphasize the importance of daily reading during routine health checkups and dispense books to their patients....the experts said.  Asking pediatricians to act a little more like librarians may sound strange, but many studies have documented that literacy has lifelong benefits for health...Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development...builds language, literacy and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime."

Here is a fact which I find interesting.  Reading for just 20 minutes a day for one year will expose you to one million words as well as increase your spelling, grammar, and writing skills.  Why not set yourself the goal of reading 20 minutes a day?

Have you ever wondered about how to go about choosing a book for yourself?  There are a number of different ways, of course.  You might ask a trusted friend for a recommendation or gravitate towards books written by a favorite author. You might look at the cover and be drawn to the picture on the cover or the exciting title.  Perhaps you read the little synopsis on the back of the book to get an idea of what treasures the book will hold.  Maybe you read the first page to see if the book will capture your attention.  

Another trusted way to determine if the book will be just right for you is to use the "five-finger" rule.  Just exactly what does that entail?  Well, open the book and start reading.  Being able to read the text of a book successfully will help to determine if you will enjoy the book.  As you are reading, hold up one finger for each time you encounter a word that you do not know.  If you get to the end of the page and have no fingers up, then the book is probably too easy for you.  If you get to the end of the page and have five fingers up, then the book is probably too challenging for you at this time.  If you only have a few fingers up at the end of the page, then this book will probably hold your interest and will probably be just right for you.  

I hope that my own personal passion for reading is evident to the staff and students at Pittsburg School.  I do my best to choose books and magazines that cater to the needs and interests of my patrons.  If there is a specific title or genre that you would enjoy seeing in the library, please let me know, and I will do my best to oblige.

I hope to see you in the library sometime soon.

Mrs. Ann Gray, librarian