I was just reading a blog post written by Virgin Atlantic mogul Richard Branson about reading 10 minutes a day. Seems he will be a grandparent soon and reading to his grans is important to him even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. So 10 minutes a day doesn’t seem like a difficult task especially when you already enjoy reading and especially if you get to spend time with your little ones.
I’ve always loved to read even as a small child but the only time I remember being read to outside of school was a particular time when I was a toddler and everyone was home because it was Christmas. I remember everything about it including where we were sitting, how the sun was filtering into the room, the modulation of my dad’s voice and the story … ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’
Maybe that wasn’t the only time but it was certainly the only time I can remember. So perhaps I didn't have someone reading to me on a regular basis that I can remember but I was exposed to books, both my mom and my dad were readers and I grew to love to read and I love to write.
I remember reading to my little friends when I was in lower grade school. I’d make believe I was the teacher and as I remember it, they seemed to like that game. One of the businesses my parent’s owned was a luncheonette and they sold a variety of things including paperbacks, newspapers and magazines so it was like having a mini library at my disposal. I would go from one kid’s magazine to another, one Archie comic book to another and I would do my best to read the newspapers. Not because I wanted all the knowledge but because I liked to read, learning was a side benefit. I liked how you could make a story have different feelings based on how the words were strung together.
I read to my boy as he was growing up. Every night, during the day with paper books and audio books and I volunteered to read to his class one day a week. So 10 minutes a day is a good mantra. Good for people who may not like reading but understand it’s importance to a child and their development (away from TV and video games).
10 minutes a day is good for adults too. I’ve been trying to get my brother to read. I don’t think I have ever seen him read a book. Yes, he’ll give a quick glance to the financial section of the newspaper and I’m sure he read when he was in school several decades ago but he’s just not a reader. I can’t help but feel sad about all the pleasure he is missing out on each day as well as all the information he has come to lack over the years. For a man who has a Master’s degree in business, he lacks basic knowledge of the simplest things. The knowledge he does have is old and outdated harking back to a time when …well, when he did read.
Two weeks ago after my insistence he decided to go to the library and learn how to use a computer. He seems to like the classes, they are very basic. He had never touched a computer amazingly, has never written an email nor goggled his own name. After the second class he told me he was reading an article on the computer. You could imagine my shock. It was an article about nutrition, a subject of interest to him but his experience reading the article was that “it was too long.” He never got past two minutes of reading. He seems to have misplaced the habit of reading. I felt sad.
Reading inspires me, it sends me down rabbit holes filled with new places, new ideas, characters and settings. I was inspired by Richard Branson’s blog post to write about reading. If each person read 10 minutes a day, think about the transformation and mind expansion, one inspired thought leading to another and another. Isn’t that how the world changes, how we grow and develop? That’s why there are so many organizations that foster the love of books like First Book, a not for profit helping to get books into the hands of children with minimal access and Pro Literacy, another not for profit working to help adults who for one reason or another, never learned to read well enough or not at all.
Today I’ll write this post hopefully inspiring you to read even if only for 10 minutes a day and in doings so perhaps you’ll inspire someone else to read and there will a genuine domino effect.
We can all help in some way to inspire others to read. Here is my list:
1. Volunteer at your local school to read to a class of children
2. Bring a senior who doesn’t get out much to the library
3. Stop by a nursing home and read to some of the residents
4. Pick up a few small children’s books and give them to the really little ones who come trick or treating this year (of course with a bit of candy)
5. Put an audio book on in the car when traveling as a family, spark an imagination
6. Turn off the television and close the laptop/tablet/smart phone … let someone see you read
7. Talk about what you are reading with your kids (and their friends) … you’ll be surprised!
8. Bring a non-reader to a book store/café and set them loose (they’ll think they are waiting on you J)
Can you add a few more to the list? Comment with your idea to inspire reading even if it’s just 10 minutes a day?