I am continually asked, “Why is reading so important?” Many people believe reading is important for success in school and they are correct. But that reason alone does not adequately speak to the real importance and value that comes from being a reader.
We read to know and to understand ourselves and our place in the world but I have come to see that the real power that reading bestows upon a person comes about because reading allows us to encounter, to meet, to face and to experience the world. A person cannot really know something until they have experienced it and the literary experience becomes the passport of entry to the encounters that bring about the knowing I am speaking of.
To know is not the same as To Encounter and it is through story that we come to meet and better understand others and ourselves. This is how we expand our capacity for empathy, this is what it means to be a compassionate human being.
Being a reader is a lifelong gift and one that parents are instrumental in cultivating in their children.