If you have been following Facebook and Twitter these past few weeks you may have come across some articles that are bashing what you choose to read. My question is why does it matter what I, or anyone else for that matter, choose to read? Doesn’t that attitude deter people from reading? Do you really think that by you saying these things that I’m going to want to run and read what you deem appropriate?
My sister-in-law and I were discussing these issues the other day. She believes that reading is not as highly valued today as it once was and I agree with her. I am a teacher and every year it gets harder and harder to get my students to enjoy reading. For the most part, they think there are better things to do and if they can’t finish the book in ONE day then it isn’t worth reading. They are used to being able to get information quickly and be done with it. They can’t do this with a book.
So here’s my thing….as a teacher if I see students reading books below their grade level, should I tell them to be ashamed of themselves because it has no merit? No value? Should I point out that they are several years older than the main character and there is no way they can relate to them?
The answer to this is NO! I should encourage them to read at ALL TIMES regardless of the grade level. If I tell them they should be ashamed of themselves for reading I am turning them off to one of the greatest past times ever! I have had students who only read graphic novels. Do I care? NO. Do you want to know why? BECAUSE I GOT THEM TO READ!!!! Maybe one day they will be brave enough to try that chapter book they have been looking at. Even if they don’t think they could ever finish it, they have the courage to try because I let them explore on their own terms.
How does this tie in to what is happening today? Well….it’s simple. Who are you and why do you think you have the right to tell anyone what they should or should not be reading? If I choose to pick up a YA novel does that make me a bad person? Does that mean that I am not smart because I am reading material geared towards a younger audience? Again the answer is NO! I read what I want to read. I read to escape, to live adventures, to experience first love all over again. I read to keep up with the trends. I read to determine what books to share with my child. I read for enjoyment. And while I’m at it….I read across the age levels, from children’s books to adult books, from romance novels to literary fiction. I am not ashamed of what I read nor will I ever be. You should not be ashamed either!
Let’s work on building each other up instead of tearing each other down. Especially over something so silly as what I choose to read.