While standing in line waiting to pay for groceries one day, I overheard a guy talking about how he hated to read, and hadn’t read anything but a menu since high school. Now while a lot of people would say that’s funny, to me it is kind of sad.
You see, one thing I really cannot stand is when people say they hate reading. According to a study conducted in late April by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read at all.
I hear men bemoan their place in the workforce and how they wish they could find that one job which would make all their financial worries disappear. But if I ask them what books they’re reading to improve theirselves I’m the one who gets laughed at.
I’ve told my kids all of their lives, “If you can read, you can do anything.” This really is true too, reading exposes your mind to different thoughts and ideas you may not get from just talking to those around you. Not to mention reading increases your vocabulary and imagination.
There’s a great line from the kid’s book; Freak the Mighty. In the story, Kevin a kid with physical limitations is helping Max; a kid who is much larger than the other kids learn to read and he says, “Matter of fact, I watch tons of tube, but I also read tons of books so I can figure out what’s true and what’s fake, which isn’t always easy. Books are like truth serum–if you don’t read, you can’t figure out what’s real.” He also tells Max, “Every word is part of a picture, Every sentence is a picture. All you have to do is link them together.”
When I say, “CAT” what do you see in your mind, the letters or a picture of a cat? Right, you saw the picture of a cat. We see in pictures not words, do you see it? Words equal pictures, pictures equal sentences, now you’re reading.
Adults who can’t read well are embarrassed by this fact, they just need a little encouragement by those of us who can. If you know someone who doesn’t read well, find a way to help them enter the reading world and make their life better.