Thursday, March 30, 2006
Place emphasis on reading
I recall spending hours upon hours at the library working on those term papers.
They demanded research, research and more research, and reading, reading and more reading, and typing, typing and more typing, and correcting, correcting and more correcting.
There was no Internet back then. I didn’t have a computer either – only a typewriter.
There was no going to Google and typing the topic of the paper under “search” and having all types of information at your fingertips - just through the click of a thing called a mouse.
It would have made those assignments a good bit simpler.
But is simple always good?
Watching my own children use the Internet for assignments is somewhat of a concern. Maybe it’s just my age showing. I guess they’re “keeping up with the times,” so to speak.
But I’m worried about the lack of research, the lack of reading - not as much hard, tiring work. It’s seems so much easier.
I’m worried about our libraries.
The library at the University of North Alabama was one of my favorites places – for quiet time, for studying, for combing through the card catalog and searching the shelves for just the right books for my term papers. As a journalism major and English minor, I spent a lot of time there.
Are books and reading and libraries as I know them in jeopardy?
The Friday before spring break I was honored to be one of several community leaders to go to Galena School and read to children.
I’ve taken part in these at many other schools during my newspaper career and enjoyed them all. I’ve even gone home afterwards and told Pam I need to go back to college and get my teaching degree. If so, I would have to select elementary education.
All the reading at Galena was from Dr. Seuss books. I was told to bring my own books or some would be waiting.
The night before I went through my daughter Erin’s and I carried two of hers - “The Foot Book” and “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?”
I ended up reading those two and one other and could have read to the children all day. They were attentive, eager to learn and having fun. And I think I was having even more fun. It was a blast, one of my all-time favorite trips to a school.
I could see the love for reading and the enjoyment in their eyes, and for that I was excited and very thankful.
My 4-year-old is at that stage of often saying, “Daddy, will you read these books to me?”
She even has a few of her favorites she can read to me.
Sometimes I’ve been guilty of brushing her off, saying I’m busy or too tired.
Shame on me.
At the same time, I see my 11-year-old and 14-year-old not as interested in reading as they once were. They’ve pushed books aside, for the most part.
Lots of things, I think, are to blame, from too much TV, to too many extracurricular activities, to too many video games, to the Internet.
But mostly parents are to blame, including yours truly, for not enough emphasis at home on reading.
Somewhere along the way I’ve dropped the ball on encouraging my children to read.
And I don’t set an example by reading very much myself or us reading together as a family.
I’m thankful for our principals, teachers and schools that put a strong emphasis on reading. Please, keep it up.
I’m no expert, but reading boosts learning, and the best of readers are often the best overall students.
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