On a reading path
In recent weeks, The Morgan Messenger has featured photos showing local people, often students and school staff, with the books they’re reading or, in some cases, their favorite books. The series is our contribution to the local school system’s renewed emphasis on reading this year.
Even in today’s electronic age, it’s hard to over-estimate the importance of reading. Without reading skills, a person’s access to knowledge is limited to what they themselves experience, what they are told and what they happen to pick up on TV or via computer. This doesn’t lead to a wide view of the world, to expertise in various fields or to a well-rounded population.
Sadly, young people are reading less and spending more of their time watching the tube, playing video games, often violent ones, and tinkering with their Facebook pages, as if these were real life and their Facebook “friends” were real friends. Will anyone care in a year whether they “like” this webpage or not?
Over and over, tests and surveys show that today’s students – indeed, even adult Americans – know very little about history or science. Ask someone to name the presidents – even half of them – or to explain what Charles Darwin actually discovered, and many folks will be stumped. This doesn’t bode well for our future.
So, it’s important to keep people reading and to spur on those who are reluctant. Hence, our photo series, which is intended to simply show that people you probably know are reading books and to suggest a few worthy titles.
Books, of course, come in all manner of styles, subjects and shapes. Some read them as e-books on a screen while others, like your editor, prefer to hold the actual artifact of paper and binding in their hands. There are good books and bad ones, ones that tell stories and ones that convey thoughts and information.
One of the truths about reading is that even a not-so-great novel can spark interest in a subject, provide entertainment, help build reading skills or lead a reader on to a genuine classic.
The trick is to find the book that starts a young person – any person, for that matter – on the reading path. Once they’re on that path, they’ll find it has all kinds of twists and turns. The scenery will change constantly and so will the destination, since people’s interests change as they travel along.