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The Importance of Reading

I have been thinking about the importance of reading the past few days. As next week is Celebrate Literacy Week in Florida, schools all over the state and in my district are planning activities to engage kids in reading. This makes my soul happy. I wish adults could have a break from the regular work activities to do our own literacy celebration. No, sorry, responding to emails and texts on the phone do not truly count as reading.

Now that I incorporate reading time with my daughters each week, I crave it more often. I’m reminded how at age ten, I really fell in love with books. I remember reading over 50 books in the summer months to achieve the “Super reader award” from my local library. I loved escaping into the characters’ minds, in the enchanted world of princesses or trolls and in the rhyming wacky tales of Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein.

Guess what? I still do. I heard that Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project books created her own young adult and children’s reading groups. I can see why. There is something so magical about kids’ books and there is less tension and drama (usually) than adult stories. Adult world in general often loses that whimsical nature we enjoy.

Since October I’ve been reading Harry Potter books with my nine year old. I had never read them previously. I take pleasure in them just as my daughter. I love to end an active, non-stop day with reading a chapter or two about the latest Hogwarts happening. I also love reading Pinkalicious and Olivia the Pig tales to my four year old who is into all things pink, girly, mischievous and beautiful right now.

Reading is fun. But it’s also so important to everything we do in life – how we navigate, how we are informed to make decisions, how we decide on the foods we put into our bodies, how we legally bind ourselves in homes, possibly marriages or jobs and more. Reading may help us out of a jam or create a great strawberry jam. It’s unavoidable, yet often underappreciated by many.

Think of how dependent a person is if he or she cannot read – how powerless they may be without knowing words and what they mean. So this next week, during literacy week, I urge you to read for enjoyment, to read for empowerment, to read because you can, to read for others who may not yet be able to but long to do so. Just read and be grateful.

I look forward to my school visits on Monday and Tuesday – to share my book and the reason why I wrote a story worth sharing with children and families. Happy Reading! Happy Celebrate Literacy Week! Don’t honor it just once a year. Incorporate it into your life each day and when you read something positive, uplifting and gratifying, say a blessing that you were able to come across something so wonderful.

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