First Posted: 3/2/2009
While the events scheduled to be held in Surry County on Monday were canceled, most of the country still celebrated the Read Across America campaign, and with good reason.
Read Across America was establish 12 years ago to encourage adults to pick up a book and read to a child as well as to encourage children to read for themselves. The event is always held on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss, one of the most famed childrens authors.
You may ask why is it important to dedicate a whole day to helping children read. Well, I am here to provide the answer.
Helping children discover the joys of reading can lead them to create their own worlds in which to play. Reading can take them to far away lands and times, places they could never truly imagine without a push in the right direction. Books can help others learn about events of the past so that they will hopefully not be repeated in the future.
While many see history books as dull, and they certainly can be, there are novels based on history that can be more entertaining because they focus on those events from a relatable perspective. Teaching a student about World War II can only take them so far. Reading a book such as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas about a child trapped in a concentration camp during that same war, however, can immediately impact the life of that student.
It is through books that worlds such as Narnia, the wizarding world or even a similar but parallel universe ruled by the Magisterium come to life. Yes, all three of these have been translated onto the screen, but they were all originally created for the world of books and imagination.
By reading to a child early in life, it is more likely that they will grow up with a love of reading which will help them throughout their lives. During school, it is almost impossible to escape without reading at least something. Well, Im sure it is, but one cannot possibly expect to succeed without reading at least something. With a love of reading, that task can become slightly less painful.
There is a growing trend to move away from books in general and towards films or books on tape. However, the advent of the Harry Potter and Twilight phenomenons has begun to resurrect the idea of opening a book for entertainment. These books have sparked children to say they have discovered a love of reading. It is a shame, however, that these children are 10 and 11 years old and have missed out on so many years of not enjoying books. It would be even better if these same children could have discovered a love at the age of 2 with their first Dr. Seuss or Mercer Mayer book.
This is a love that has to start with us, the adults, because if we do not urge children to read, who will?
Morgan Wall is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1929.