When I walked into Framingham Library this morning, I was quite amazed to see it teeming with so many kids and their parents. Before I could deduce that gorgeous sunny day had something to do with it, my eyes were drawn towards this signage that read - "Celebrate National Library Week * April 11-17" and it all made sense right away!
As I navigated to my fav spot, I saw this kid voicing strong opinions to his father. It was quite evident that his father wanted him to pickup few good books whereas to the kid-READING seemed yet another TO-DO task with no apparent fun or relevance whatsoever! I was tempted to intervene & share my thoughts but I decided to stay quiet and jot down a quick blog post later. Here's why I think READING is so important:
- Gear Shift: When you read something, you are essentially absorbing writer's thoughts. Once you get into a habit of reading, every time you pickup a book-you disassociate yourself from your thoughts and focus on those of the writer's. This gives you a fresh perspective.
- Relaxation: For people who stay at higher energy levels for a considerable amount of time (any examples?;)), reading helps them to take a pause, slow down, allow their otherwise hyperactive brains to relax.
- Pattern Matching: Voracious readers consume so many works of fiction, bestsellers and articles. So at any point in time-they are better equipped at detecting patterns (situations, issues, complex problems etc.) and thus act blazing fast. Good Reading develops one's analytical & critcial thinking skills and pattern matching ability on a continual basis.
- Vocabulary: When we give tours to ESL students at Danforth, we see that they have to apply lot of effort to absorb new words into their spoken vocab. One suggestion which we usually offer to them is "READ READ READ!". Reading pushes you out of your comfort zone, you are bombarded with new words again and again until you internalize them. The key however is to take a conscious note of new words.
- Creative Thinking: Similar to anything else we consume (advertisements, movies, TV Shows etc), the books give you a new perspective about the things and lets you explore the world in fantastic ways. Writings by great thinkers are always interesting reads - you get to understand their "thought process", their "visions" and their "idea generation process".
I'd sum up by mentioning that pursuing Art, Music, Dance, Theatre or anything else one's passionate about is cool provided it is coupled with a daily dose of Fantastic Fiction, Instructive Nonfiction, Inspirational Biographies or Light Comic Books. To know more about benefits of reading, check out this thought provoking paper or take a look at the doodle I sketched in Danforth's 'Goodnight Moon' reading area where creativity just seems to flow naturally :-) Let's resolve to READ more in the days to come!
There is no substitute for books in the life of a child~Mary Ellen Chase