According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics I’m one of only 50% of adult australians who does or can read more than a basic form.
I think that’s scary and more than a little bit sad. Australia, the lucky country, where education is in abundance and free from Kindergarten to high school, has 50% of adults who might not be able to read for fun or knowledge or necessity.
I read everything I can and I can’t imagine not doing that. Books, newspapers, flyers, bulletin boards, posters, facebook, twitter posts, self-help, non-fiction, leaflets, magazines in hotel rooms, travel guides, in-flight magazines, blogs, junk mail, you name I want to read it. I read because I want to learn.
Why are property prices so high, when is Kate Middleton due to have her second baby, when is that next community event, what are the adult literacy figures in Australia, how do I set up a self hosted blog, what is a paradigm, How can I teach my kids to read. Whether it’s serious stuff like uni research or a bit of light royal gossip reading helps you to learn.
I want to want my kids to be able to learn and to love words and so we read to them. It seems to be working. Don’t get me wrong they’re not mini Einstein’s, they can’t read but they want to read and that’s half the battle I think.
Mister five wants to know what the Ninja Turtles are saying, who is Spiderman’s nemesis and “Did you know Mum that Batman comes from Gotham City?” He recognises letters that make up the words or to and he ‘reads’ out loud his imaginative interpretation of what Captain America is doing.
Mister two is the same. He can’t get enough of words. “This is Maxi’s belly button mum.” or “Yuckie stinky, Max’s done a poo mum (complete with sound effects and hand movements).” From belly button to poo the words evolve into sentences and pretty soon I think he’ll be telling me the history of evolution. With any luck this will all lead to a passion for reading, especially as Max and Ruben head into their teenage years.
Apparently our teenagers are struggling with reading too. Even though English is a not negotiable subject in our schools it hasn’t stopped Australia from producing 35% of 15 year olds with a baseline or below level of literacy (OECD 2011). How can we stop it?
Experts agree that reading to children and encouraging them to read is one of the most important things we can do to improve kids self esteem and their chance of success in the adult world. We need to read to our kids. Get them to love reading early. Reading to your bump, your babies and your toddlers could be one of the best starts you can give your children in their education.
I don’t know about you but it makes me sad that so many teenagers and adults aren’t learning, can’t fulfill their potential because they can’t read. If they could read they could learn and if they could learn they will increase their vocabulary and their understanding of the world around them.
Reading is one of the best ways to increase your vocabulary. The more words you know the better you read and the more you understand other people’s ideas. Not only that, the more words you know the better you can explain your own ideas and understand other concepts.
Concepts like a vivid imagination and the existence of whole other worlds besides your own. Reading takes you into the bedroom and bondage chamber of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, into the Wizard’s School of Hogwarts. You can read your way onto the Battlestar Gallatica command post. Reading will take you into the real and imagined worlds that you may never experience in real life. Not only that you can read yourself to an improved life.
Be passionate about reading so that you can start living the seven habits of a highly successful you, have a go at winning friends and influencing people, all while you’re figuring out your power of now and why he’s just not that into you. The list and diversity of self-help books is huge. One for almost any topic you could ever imagine has been written. But wait there’s more…reading will improve your writing.
Your writing will improve because of the number of words you know and because you’ve read a lot your ability to express yourself will get better. When you read you will start to recognise good writing and bad writing. The structure of sentences, paragraphs and written pieces will become clearer to you. So every time you sit down to write it will get better.
My standout favourite reason though to be passionate about reading would have to be because it gives you a great perspective on life outside of you.
Reading your favourite authors, in fact reading anything at all, books, papers, noticeboards, facebook posts, instagram comments, emails, letters (does anyone still write these anymore?) helps us to realise there is a much bigger world outside our kids school schedules, soccer practice, the budget we have to balance, the positivism paradigm we just can’t quite figure out and the health crisis we’re having. There is a whole world of stuff happening out there and we are lucky enough to be part of it.
If you’d like to learn how to help other people to read contact the reading writing hotline.
Remember the catchy tv jingle??? 1300 6555 06 or their website http://www.readingwritinghotline.edu.au
Five reasons to be passionate about reading
- What you know about the world and those around you increases ten fold
- It increases your vocabulary (aka the number of words you know. See it works!)
- It introduces you to whole new worlds and imaginary lands you never knew existed as well as how to improve the world you’re in now.
- The more you read the more the more it helps you with writing and that’s any kind of writing. If you’re a writer it also helps you with fresh ideas.
- Reading gives you a great perspective on life outside of you.
Yah I’m excited. That was the last in my series ‘Seven things I’m passionate about in life’. I hope it’s inspire you to figure out the things you’re passionate about in life and to go get them!
PS – (or bits that got cut out but that I couldn’t quite let go of)
I read in a car, on a plane or a train or boat at home, in the toilet while waiting at the lights, while waiting for Thai or my skinny flat white. I always want to read more.
Newspapers are my weakness. I read anywhere between two and five newspapers a weekend and a few during the week. Sometimes though I may or may not sneak in The Weekend Australian and the Weekend Fin Review. I subscribe to four Magazines and I read a few more than that. No wonder this post took me so long to write! I hope it inspires you to read…..lots!!!
*OECD 2011, PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science (Volume I)
State Library of Victoria and Library Board of Victoria 2008, Libraries building communities: the vital contribution of Victoria’s public libraries — a research report for the Library Board of Victoria and the Victorian Public Library Network: connecting with community, Melbourne, State Library of Victoria