26 September 2014

On Reading and Readers

Something that we hear all the time right now is that we need to make sure children are being raised as readers.  I'm a reader so I think this is a great idea.  Reading is a valuable skill and everyone needs to be encouraged and taught to make sure they are as able as possible to be competent readers. But I don't think that means that we can make the whole world enjoy reading, and I don't think that should be the goal any more than I think that everyone should want to write or do math in their spare time.  Reading, like math and writing, is a very important skill, but it's not necessary to love it. It's just necessary to know how to do all three well and be able to use them as needed.

My husband, despite multiple advanced degrees including a PhD, is not a reader.  He usually reads a lot (not so much now with this job), but he rarely picks up a book just for fun, and if he does, it's always non-fiction.  He has read exactly one novel since I met him and that was To Kill A Mockingbird in 1998.  And that's okay.  He doesn't have to be a reader.

Also, I've seen my own reading habits change a lot at different times in my life.  I read less now than I used to a few years ago, for a lot of reasons.  I still read a lot, but it's different.  And that's not bad.  The number of books you read doesn't say anything about you except how much you like to read (or what your job requires, sometimes).

So I'll keep making sure that reading is emphasized in our house, that math is always going on, and that my children learn to write well.  They need to learn all those skills well.  But I'll let them choose if any of those are what they want to spend a lot of time on.

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