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Reading Opens Doors

What really signals summer's end is the sales in the stores. My favourite sales are in the book stores. I can easily spend hours browsing through the book shelves and the special displays. Books get my heart beating just a little faster.

I know there's a trend toward electronic books but that doesn't interest me at all. I'm a book hoarder and I find it very difficult to get rid of a book. For most of my life I have preserved my collection of Nancy Drew and on more than one occasion I have lamented the loss of my Cherry Ames, Nurse series. I devoured these books in my childhood, moving through each volume with building anticipation for the next adventure. I can remember the disappointment I felt when I reached the last book in each collection.

The other day I came across a sale of classic children's books and, after careful consideration, I chose Anne of Green Gables, Robin Hood and Swiss Family Robinson. I couldn't wait to present them to three very special young girls in my life.

I am always dismayed when I hear a young person say "I don't read books." In my life, reading has been the door into an unlimited array of people, places and predicaments.

One of the saddest things I have heard lately is the decision of a school board in Ontario to remove Shakespeare from the Grade 10 and 11 curriculum, stating that the subject is too complex for today's youth. I certainly don't agree with that assessment. Next they will be taking algebra off the curriculum because it's complicated.

In any case, books offer unlimited learning opportunities to the reader. Besides the obvious points that propel the story line, there are many trails to be followed that may be incidental to the story but the author's research provides endless pieces of information that can come in handy at a later date.

Each generation has its classics. How many readers have been spawned by Harry Potter or the Twilight saga? The key to getting kids to start reading is exposure. It starts when baby reaches for that first picture book that plays music when the cover is opened. Bedtime reading is a parental tradition that can get the whole "reader in the family" set in motion. Reading to your children has many fringe benefits, not the least of which is spending time together. It is an opportunity to discuss life and talk about feelings. Many books have a theme that will lend itself to opening a conversation with children of all ages. As well, reading proficiency is an increasingly essential skill in our society. Encouraging your child to enter the world of reading will have an impact on how she does in school.

Why not take a trip to the library with your kids? You are sure to find a whole new world of possibilities.