westword

12 February 2009

The joys of reading as a child

Filed under: western sydney — westword @ 6:00 pm

I came across a couple of articles that are lovely tributes to the experience and value of childhood reading.

This one is by the US children’s author Mitali Perkins. Mitali contends that Stories are powerful allies as we seek to raise a generation of compassionate children. I’d agree with that—although thankfully, compassion isn’t in short supply in Australia in this most dreadful and challenging of times. (I’ll be adding a post about the fires in Victoria in a moment.)

The second article is titled When books could change your life: Why what we soak up at 12 may be the most important reading we ever do.*  Here’s a quote I like:

Let me put it another way: When was the last time a book changed your life? I don’t mean offered you new insights or ideas or moved you — I mean profoundly changed the way you see the world or shaped the kind of person you are?

It’s really important that we, as the adults who have the power of bringing books into the lives of kids (or keep them out), remember the sheer joy of losing yourself in a book, and more than that, the incredibly powerful things we learnt about the world and about ourselves and others like us and not like us through books. I don’t mean by that I think that books for children are primarily for teaching moral lessons—just that the really good ones pass on those qualities we value, and, as the author of this piece puts it, “ideas that are still bigger than our heads“.

Does your school encourage reading for pleasure? Are the old days of DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) dead and gone? Maybe you’ve found a better way of incorporating reading—just reading, not testing or preparing for tests—into your school community. Love to hear about it—share your successes in the comments section!

PS

* Must be something in the air lately about returning to the pleasures of reading like a kid: this article was in the Fashion & Style section, of all things, of the New York Times a few weeks ago.

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2 Comments »

  1. Judith, I enjoy reading your informative blog. Keep it up!
    Cheers from Brisbane
    Sheryl Gwyther 🙂

    Comment by Sheryl Gwyther — 20 February 2009 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, Sheryl! More to come soon.

      Comment by westword — 20 February 2009 @ 1:07 pm | Reply


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