Thursday, January 26, 2012

Growing up with books is important!

Just one more off-topic post before I get back to the business of reviewing books.  A couple of weeks ago I saw a story on NPR about Walter Dean Myers, the new ambassador for Young People's Literature.  In the interview, Myers talks a lot about how books are important parts of your life, and stresses that, as part of his goals, he wants young children to be read to every day.

There is this idea that what children need, in order to do well in school and in life, is to be read to every day.  And while I think that's true, this widely held notion is actually a fallacy.  Being read to every day doesn't impact how kids do in reading and in school — how many books they have at home does.

This is not to say that if you put 500 books in the home of every poor kid in the city, they are suddenly going to start doing well in school.  But think about it: Adults who value reading tend to have lots of books in the home.  Their children see them modeling habits that emphasize the value of reading and books, and they in turn grow up to value reading and books.

In other words, reading to your children every day is good, but it's not enough.  If you view it as a chore, chances are your children will too.  But if you surround yourself with books and read a lot, for the pleasure of it, in front of your children, they will absorb that passion for reading, and their own lives will benefit from it.

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