Before I retired, I taught in public schools for 36 years. (language arts, 7-12; hearing impaired, pre-K-12) During those years I taught them all–doctors, diplomats, teachers, those with disabilities, immigrants, murders, their victims… As I wiped the chalk dust off my hands and turned off the classroom lights one last time, I wondered. What had I accomplished in those 36 years? What had I done for the thousands of students who had passed through the doors of my classroom?
If I have left them a legacy, it is this. I made them read.
Reading makes you smart. The statement became something of a mantra for my students to recite. Each time I made an assignment, the conversation went something like this:
Student: Aww…Do I have to?
Me: Yes, you have to.
Student: Why, Miss?
Me: You know why.
Student: *adolescent eye roll* Because reading makes you smart.
Numerous studies point to the correlation between reading and success in school, the workplace, and life itself. It saddens me that people read less than they used to. The October 12, 2015 LA Times reported that 72% of Americans reported reading at least one book in the previous year. That leaves 28% who had not read even one book.
One book a year. Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day. Given that most of the books I read have anywhere between 200 and 400 pages, 500 pages a day translates to a lot of books each year. Need I say more?
Reading is too big a topic for merely one post. I will revisit the topic again and again. Like the teacher I have always been, I will nag you to read, read, and read some more.
From time to time on this blog, I plan to offer up suggestions for your reading pleasure and edification. Watch my next post for the first.