If I had a pound for every time I heard someone say ‘kids these days hate reading’ or ‘****’s too young/old for books’, I may not be a millionaire but I’d certainly have some extra pocket-money.
They’re wrong, obviously, but nothing I do or say seems to be able to convince them otherwise. Probably because I usually end up blaming them for their child’s disinterest in the written word by saying something along the lines of ‘kids only think books are boring if they grow up around people telling them books are boring instead of encouraging them to find out for themselves.’
My nephew, for example, used to love reading his books whenever he came round to visit us but suddenly when we started seeing him a little less as he got older, books got ‘boring’. Something to do with his mother sending all their books to the charity shop regardless of whether they were read, unread, favourites or special presents? I think it may be. She thinks books have no value and therefore, it would seem, her children think the same.
This makes me incredibly sad. Nothing is better than picking up a good book and being transported somewhere else for an adventure with your new best friend. Regardless of whether you are one, eleven, thirty-two or one hundred and four, a book is a wonderful thing.
Different people like different books, always have and always will. Books I read might be your idea of tosh and books you read might be my idea of sheer tedium but that doesn’t make either of our choices bad. It just makes us different people. Picking up one book that is ‘boring’ and then refusing to read any other book on the principle that all books are the same is rubbish but, sadly, something that happens all too often.
I think some people who grow up not reading much, get the impression of ‘all books are dull’ from the fact that all the reading experience they’ve had has been from What a Bad Dog! (Oxford Reading Tree) through to Of Mice and Men – namely whatever school has thrown at them in a compulsory manner. I’d think they were pretty dull too if that were all the selection I’d had, being ‘made’ to read something almost always instantly kills the enjoyment it could bring.
Luckily for me, I was brought up in a house full of bookshelves and I devoured whatever I could reach (including two encyclopaedias from cover to cover…) and thus could never understand when my friends said they didn’t like books. There was so much to discover and explore, I couldn’t imagine going a day without creating further adventures for my current favourite character in my head as I went about my day.
As for being too young for books, my 11 month old daughter already loves her books, granted she usually has them upside down or in her mouth but she still loves them. I often go into her bedroom on a morning to discover her sitting up pointing at one of her tiny board books, grinning broadly and turning the pages three at a time.
I think what I’m trying to say is I’m afraid of current generations, including my own, missing out on the experience of reading just because of other people telling them that books are ‘uncool’, ‘boring’ and ‘a waste of time’ as well as not introducing their own children to books because they don’t see any value in the pastime.
I got endless pleasure out of reading to the point where I wanted to write my own stories, almost as a thank you to the people whose books I read, and I struggle to picture a life without all the colours and emotions brought to me through other people’s words. A life without that seems to me, a very plain one, though I’m not trying to say all kids should do is read. I love my Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and my TV, I just think that books add a dimension video games and widescreen visuals never can – your own imagination.
What is life without imagination? I simply can’t imagine.
This post was linked up to TheBoyAndMe’s ShowOff-ShowCase on 19th March 2011. Click the button to see more ‘Most Popular’ Posts!