Friday, February 25, 2011

LeVar Burton is One Cool Dude

I'm all in research paper mode over here, and I really should be working, not blogging.  (Special shout out to my in-laws for taking Anna for the night!)  But I came across a few statistics yesterday that are blowing my mind.

Did you know that the amount of time 15-24-year-olds spend per day voluntarily reading (not including school work) was found to be between seven and ten minutes?  And did you know that the same age group spends two to two and a half hours per day watching television?  People, that is crazy!!  This study (done by the National Endowment for the Arts) also found that people who do read have all kinds of awesome advantages in life - they have better paying jobs, they are more culturally aware, and they are even more likely to perform volunteer or charity work.

One of the biggest things I struggled with as an English teacher was the fact that so many of my students claimed to hate reading.  They would literally be throwing hissy fits and whining every day when I announced it was silent reading time.  To me, this was the absolute best part of the day.  I get to read?  For twenty minutes?  And no one's gonna bother me?  Sweet!  Dragging them to the library was a hot mess, too - usually involving the kids scraping the bottom of their book bags or lockers to find the books they had checked out the week before (and had probably been there the entire time, untouched) and a whole bunch of moaning and groaning.  I just did not get it.

If loving you is wrong, LeVar, I don't wanna be right.

They say the best way to encourage your kids to read is to model the behavior yourself, and Anna is going to have an advantage there.  Her grandparents are all readers, and I don't think I would have survived the first year of her life without my Kindle.  (Seriously, if you are a nursing mama - Best. Invention. Ever. Thanks, Mike!).  Even Mike has been a bit of a book worm lately, which makes me happy in ways you will never know.  He's ordering books left and right from and even staying up late at night to finish chapters.  By his own admission, he read a total of ZERO books before we met.  This is a direct quote from lunch today: "I remember this one time, when I was twelve, and I was reading a book.  I think it was about a dog named Scout.  But I didn't finish it."  I would like to think that my nerdy, book-loving self played some part in his new-found hobby, but it could just be the fact that his ADD has calmed down a bit and he can sit still long enough to actually read - and he found something that interested him.

Either way, I can't wait until Anna sees books as more than chew toys, when we can explore the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl together, and discover all the awesomeness that is the library.  And if she doesn't enjoy reading as much as I do, that's okay, too.  I'll just run away with LeVar Burton and live happily ever after with my Kindle.

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