Teachers, parents, ministers, and coaches ought to work together to promote reading, throughout the month of September and beyond. The proverbial question, however, is how. Fortunately, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation has a few tips and insights on how we might—as their mission proclaims— "improve the quality of lives through the power of literacy."
The first recommendation to promote reading is choice, in particular among children. Let young people pursue their interests and natural inclinations. Among teens, I find a balance between required reading and choice is valuable. I can think of a significant number of books I never would have chosen on my own. The curriculum/my teacher made that choice for me. I'm so grateful they did.
Another tip is making books accessible and available. A good society and a strong school will get books into the hands of children. And still, I know teens and adults are never immune from judging a book by its cover. Who hasn't picked up a book from an airport bookstore, a Little Free Library or common space at work just because it's there— it catches your eye and piques your curiosity. That's a good thing! So I think sharing books, putting them in public places and promoting them in any way possible helps everyone.
For many adults, a Book Club is the ticket toward reading and completing a book. Accountability and the sense of a shared task have propelled me in the past to keep reading. Odds are that many of the people in your book club won't be unlike you. My guess is you join a Book Club comprised of your friends or neighbors. Perhaps you are associated with one another through your work or your church. That being said, I don't know a book club that isn't unique, be it in membership, in purpose or in their approach to reading.
Such is the case with the book club that (former) Patriots' wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell decided to join while he was in college at the University of Geogia and shared on CBS Sunday morning. Their website states: When Steve Hartman first met Malcolm Mitchell three years ago, the wide receiver - then playing for the University of Georgia - had been invited to join a book club. He was the only man in the club, and by far the youngest. But he was proud to be called a nerd. Today, Mitchell is playing for the New England Patriots, and he's taken his love of reading to a new level: writing a children's book, "The Magician's Hat."
Pick up a book. See if it's something you can finish this month. Share it with others. If someone calls you a nerd for wanting to do that, remember that for some people—that might be a compliment.
More in the next posting...