Ok so, this isn’t exactly political, but I’m into it. Today is, apparently, Drop Everything and Read Day in British Columbia! At 11am put down whatever you’re doing, pick up a book or magazine or a newspaper and do some reading. Hopefully you’re here at Art Threat, reading one of the interesting things from our great writers!
In Secrets of Success, a Radiolab episode from this past July, Jad and Robert interview Malcolm Gladwell (of the Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers fame) who claims that “if one child learns to read at four, and one child learns to read at two and a half, so what? why does it matter? Are the things that are being read between two and four of such incalculable importance … reading is reading, once you can read, you’re done. It’s not like there’s an infinite scale, and someone can read better and better.”
I’m more inclined to agree with Margarat MacDiarmid, BC’s Minister of Education, who says “Reading is like anything else — practice makes perfect.”
Reading is not just reading, you can always be learning new language, new phrases, the history of words and new ways of expressing yourself or gaining an increased understanding of how others express themselves. How many of us have re-read books at an older age only to discover that the language skills (and life skills) of our youth were too inept to catch all the nuances of the story. A second read later in life can be a completely different tale.
In addition to bringing a family closer together (by reading to your children, if you have them), developing a love of reading and the ability to dissect and critically think about the content of what you’re reading is a hugely important skill. And it’s learned. It allows you to be part of the cultural sphere, exchange ideas, learn new skills on your own, and navigate important day-to-day life issues like figuring out who to vote for or what is in the food you’re eating.
So in the end, reading is not reading. Once you learn to read you can’t stop just because you’ve reached literacy. Keep reading, and growing, and exploring, and expressing.
Why is reading important to you? Do you think “reading is reading” or that “practice makes perfect”?
If anyone wants to lend me a kid at 11am I’d be happy to do some story reading!
Photograph by Patrick Gage