Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reading for pleasure makes you better. An open love letter to books.

Reading books does indeed make you better, not just academically!

Dear Books, 

Hey my oldest and dearest friends, how are things? Have I told you lately that I love you? No? Well I still do - even more than ever now that I'm getting to pass on your brilliance to my daughter, and hopefully to other folk who happen to stumble across our blog and realise that reading for pleasure is such a massive part of our lives that we can't imagine what it would be like NOT to do so?

We've seen lots of very helpful newspaper articles, magazine articles, expert soundbites and research telling us something we already knew. Reading books can make you better!

The recent articles were pointing out that children who are read to, and who read for pleasure, fare better in school at a wide variety of subjects. It's like someone just told us that having a wash occasionally makes us pong a bit less, or that drinking fluids means we won't die of thirst. 

The intent is, of course, to reach those folk who haven't quite discovered how brilliant you are, dear books. I lack the vocabulary to adequately describe how pleasurable it is to find yourself slipping into a mild book-induced coma as a book wraps itself around your imagination like a snuggly blanket, totally immersing you in a world that is someone else's but for that snapshot moment in time, is truly yours and yours alone. The entire outside world may disappear when you're reading on your own but when you're reading aloud to someone sitting on your lap, with their complete attention, that bubble encompasses them and suddenly your warm snuggly blanket is big enough for two. Or three, or more if you can master the art of reading aloud to a crowd. 

Academic achievement is one reward, but in comparison to the chance of involving someone else in a lifelong passion that will, in turn, make them feel loved and nurtured, "parented" if you dive into modern vernacular, it's a tiny shiny shard of quartz compared to The Star of Africa. 

Through our journey into children's picture books and beyond into the sensurround experience of a thoroughly involving and 'deep' books, Mummy, Charlotte and I have found that books can change so many aspects of our life for the better. We can converse on subjects that books brush on, urging us on to find out more. We can visit places inspired by books, and meet fabulous folk who feel the same way about books as we do. We hear articles mentioning literacy and numeracy benefits of reading for pleasure but hello, what of the creative benefits? How many artists, writers, playwrights and actors have become what they are because of what they read as a child, and what they read now? How many authors and illustrators are now as famous (as infamous) as sportsmen and women, as reality-show celebrities?

I've a huge debt of thanks to so many people who gently nudged books in my direction as a child rather than forced them into my school bag, and if anyone asks, that's the approach we take with Charlotte and we hope it will be the approach she takes with her own children if and when she has them. 

Books, you're fab, you always have been, always will be!

1 comment:

Clara said...

Dear Read It Daddy,
Thank you for loving us, and sharing us both with your nearest and dearest AND with people you don't even know. We are fluttering our pages with happiness. You're fab too!
With love from Books x