This month's edition of School Library Journal has a great cover article entitled Why Read? The author has done a fabulous job of showing the importance of reading in terms of child development. He addresses the link between literacy and imagination.
I wish I could say I had written this paragraph because it is exactly the way I feel too.
My greatest joy, then, as now, was to find a place away from others, to be alone and have it happen again, the renewable miracle: to feel the world I live in start to slowly recede while at the same time another, different world builds itself more and more distinctly around me.
I don't think too many kids are feeling this way about reading any more and that saddens me. Every time a student announces, "I don't read books" I just look at them and say, "I'm sorry." They think I'm being snarky but I'm truly sorry they are missing out on a life changing experience. They are also missing out on developing the depth of learning in favor of skimming the surface of information.
The article also talks about the sleep disorders prevelant these days because of the lack of "down time" and disengagement from wireless devices. Kids are using their phones all day long and all through the night because "OMG I might miss a text!" or some other equally "important" communication. We're losing the idea of unstructured time--time to develop deep thinking skills.
Another great line from the article--"What Wordsworth called the “shades of the prison-house” have not yet closed around us; there’s still time available for letting the mind go investigating." Reading will let us do this investigating giving the focus and time to concentrate--let our brain work through ideas. Let's hope we never lose this concept of time. For if we do, what sort of people will we have become?