I’m a reader. In part because I was raised a reader (thanks, Mom!). In part because I love learning. And in part because I enjoy spending the time alone. I feel very blessed with knowing how to read. Whole worlds are open to me, only because I can make sense of the symbols on a page. I’ve learned and been challenged in what I believe because I can read. So you know what really bugs me? When people choose not to read.
I don’t mean those that can’t read, whether from lack of opportunities to learn, lack of material to read, or learning disabilities. And I don’t mean those who are in a time of life where they can’t read what they want, like young mothers or students (though anyone can find a few minutes to read here and there…it took me 6 months to read Gone with the Wind in college, but I did it).
I mean those who were taught how to read, but haven’t taken advantage of it.We hear so much about the illiteracy rates in America and around the world - illiteracy based on poverty, conflict or disabilities - but no one talks about those who choose to ignore the gift once it is given them. To us, intentional illiteracy is a crime that ranks up there with book burning, desecrating the flag, parking lots with no spaces for mothers of small children...
This has been an ongoing discussion in our household because we somehow raised a non-reader. With two parents who read daily, I'm not sure how this happened, but it did. We have an incredibly bright, creative and animated daughter (and we're not a bit biased), but she won't read a book under threat of law, teachers or disconnection of her cell phone.
What is it that makes some people love reading and others not? Is there a genetic connection? Our household certainly wouldn't uphold that theory. Is it nurture rather than nature? We exposed both of our kids to books and reading from birth and they both loved to be read to in their toddler years. We took them to libraries and bought books from every school flier and book sale. What makes our Little Missy choose to be illiterate?
Ronnica closed her post with this thought: If you’re numbered among the intentionally illiterate, what would get you to read? Would Dear Daughter read if she were cut off from Facebook, texting, tv and instant messaging? My mother has none of those things except tv and watches very little of it, yet she never picks up a book.
I consider the ability to read as one of the greatest gifts I have received and the loss of that gift to age or illness as one of my greatest fears. Books are my friends, my escape, my consolation and my joy. How can someone choose not to have that? If you were expecting astute answers to all these questions, sorry to disappoint. But I would love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks to Ronnica for stirring up my thought process and for her permission to share her insights here.