If you’re reading this blog post, you’re doing better than the average American. And, hey…I’m not writing Latin here; this post is probably 4th grade reading material, in regards to comprehension. Are you surprised?
According to DoSomething.org, 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. And, according to some of the latest stats from the Literacy Project Foundation, 50% of adults in America cannot read a book at an 8th grade level. (Don’t even get me started on how we rank in the subjects of Science and Mathematics.)
It’s obvious we have a serious problem. To have knowledge means to have power, to be better informed. Without furthering our knowledge, which is often done via reading, we risk becoming ignorant, less apt to have an open mind, and foolishly happy to remain complacent with the status quo.
Again from the Literacy Project Foundation, here’s the impact that illiteracy has on our society:
3 out of 5 people in American prisons can’t read
To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states actually base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests
85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading
Approximately 50% of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as reading prescription drug labels
Sobering, isn’t it? Though it’s hard to pinpoint any one cause of the illiteracy epidemic in America, I think it’s safe to say that with the rise of “microwave technology,” where many things are simply done for us without us having to think, efficiency is having a negative impact on the simple pleasures (and necessity) of reading. I am actually in the age bracket of the MTV generation, and remember how technological entertainment steadily took over the minds of the generations after mine.
I’m not saying that TV or movies or smartphones are bad, but I am saying that many of us have allowed ourselves to send our brains on a sluggish vacation every night to watch hours of TV while playing Words With Friends on our iPhones. There’s an enticing, addictive factor about just shutting down the human computer and booting up the mechanical one. Americans have not really been the best at striking a balance in life, and I know this from personal experience and observation gained while traveling to other countries and studying what makes them different from us.
I’ll admit that I’ve had periods in my life where I didn’t read for pleasure because I was so consumed by work or school. In fact, even though I was writing fiction while earning my undergraduate degree, I wasn’t actively reading (say what?!) until a year after I graduated! I was so burned out from textbooks that my mind needed a long break. However, I’ve always been a reader, and I owe it to my parents who modeled a love of books. Were it not for them, I don’t know what would have eventually gotten me into books. Therefore, I am so grateful to them for instilling such a love for literature, encouraging me to better my intellect while escaping to another world. (Also, I’ve just finished reading book #115 of 2015! N.B.D.)
So, my point is this: a love for reading starts with us. A solution to the problem of illiteracy in America begins with us. We are the role models and need to take our roles very seriously. We need to rediscover reading for ourselves—if we are not already active readers—and help others rediscover or simply discover reading for themselves.
I’m proud to be a part of Cosby Media Productions’ 2015 “Rediscover Reading” initiative. As a media company that runs a publishing branch, a love for reading is of the utmost importance to us—but we also are passionate about playing a part in solving the problem of illiteracy.
I’m asking you to join our initiative by becoming an active reader, and then finding just one person with whom to share your love of reading. Just one. Why? Because change starts with us, and if we can get one other person hooked on reading, and they do the same for another…you do the math. From just one person’s change, a whole nation, theoretically, could be changed for the better. Will you join me and Rediscover Reading for yourself? Help someone else Rediscover Reading?
If you want to show your enthusiasm in a BIG WAY, then take it to social media. All year long, we’ll be using #RediscoverReading to show that we’re participating in the initiative, hoping that others will catch on and join the fun. You can also check out the fairly new Facebook page we’ve started for the Rediscover Reading campaign by clicking HERE and adding to the conversation. And, if you’re reading a really great book and want to share, you can tweet it, Instagram it, pin it on Pinterest…the possibilities are endless. Just be sure to use #RediscoverReading when posting.
I’ll do my best to keep things updated here in regards to the latest news for #RediscoverReading. 🙂 Now, your assignment is to figure out what book to read this month, and then who you’ll share it with.
And…speaking of reading…
My second book, The Wrong Fairy Tale, comes out tomorrow! Woohoo! Shameless pitch: If you don’t know what to read this month, pick up an eBook copy of my book. 😉
You can pre-order The Wrong Fairy Tale on Amazon by clicking HERE. (Paperback available July 14th.) Do if for the kids, do it for yourself, do it for my retirement fund. This is my best work to date, and I am super excited to share it with readers!
Until next time, lovely readers…xx