The Importance of Books and Reading

Sunday, August 1, 2010

You know that feeling we get when we get books to read? May they be book purchases, orders, books for review, from the library, or books won from contests, we get all giddy and excited when we get them. It’s such a high for me, as I'm sure it is for you as well. Because of this, and because we are in a book blog community, we thought it was only appropriate for us to pick First Book as one of the charities to help out for the fundraiser event that we're having.

First Book is an organization that provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy -- access to books. We thought this was a perfect choice, for the simple reason that we all love books and that we all agree the importance of having a book to read at an early age.


Growing up, I was blessed to have grandparents and parents who supported my love for reading. I learned so many things growing up that only literature could ever teach. I imagine my childhood otherwise -- without access to books. I think we all have to agree things would have been a little different. I can not speak for all of you, but I think it is safe to say that we all have been touched and inspired by them in some way.

I contacted some bloggers, and asked them the very same question I asked myself when I saw the First Book organization. How different would my childhood be without books? How important was reading when I was a kid growing up? How much of an impact did they create?

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Kristi from The Story Siren states,

"I was addicted to books and reading from a really young age. As far back as I remember I've always had books. My Grandma would read to me every night, and I learned to read at an early age as a result of that. Reading taught me valuable lessons. Lessons about friendship, right and wrong, being responsible, telling the truth.... the list could go on. Reading took me on adventures to new worlds. It made me want to invent my own worlds and I started writing stories and filled up notebook after notebook... (although my high school freshman English teacher squashed all my dreams of becoming a writer.... but that's another story for a different day.) My books were always there when my friends couldn't come out to play. They never judged me for my hairstyle or my clothes... they were there accepting and never judged me. I have no doubt that I became the person I am today, because of my love of reading and having books accessible at every stage of my childhood. Reading is powerful!"


Eleni of La Femme Readers recall being surrounded by books as a child. She says;

"Honestly, books became important later on in life. But, as a child I did enjoy being surrounded by books. I remember I always had the urge to smell new books. Hm, maybe I was destined to read? I always read Disney books such as Cinderella, Little Mermaid and Beauty & The Beast when I was really young. But, my true fascination with reading started once R.L. Stine and Sweet Valley High books emerged. I was in love with R.L. Stine's stories and covers. I remember I was intrigued by the fear street cheerleader series. I loved this cover in particular for some reason.
Also, there was I believe three books out that was full of scary stories. I wish I can remember the name of it, but can't put my finger on it. I believe I was either in 2nd or 3rd grade and my teacher would dim the lights and read them to us. I loved it but later paid for it in my sleep with nightmares. I guess my love for paranormal and urban fantasy stayed with me. Now a days, I can't picture my life without a good vampire or werewolf story."


Nicole of Word For Teens answers the question by sharing her story.

"How important? Well, my dad died when I was seven. I was a normal kid (well, define normal), but I managed to lose myself in my Animal Ark books and my Santa Paws books and whatever book happened to catch my eye. Most were about animals. But when I was eleven or twelve, I discovered a box of DragonRiders of Pern books in the garage. They had been my dads.
Reading became pretty important to me after that. It wasn't just about losing myself in a book, or understanding what was going on around me because I understood what was going on with the characters around me, but it became a connection to somebody I had lost. And even now, when I read, I find myself making connections to the people around me through books - not just to the characters."


Emily of Emily's Reading Room shares her story as well, and about her wishes for her daughter.

"Books were my life when I was a kid. I moved to a new (very small rural) school when I was in fourth grade. I wasn't athletic, pretty, or one of the popular kids. I had just one friend. But, I loved my school librarian. When life on the playground was tough I knew that my librarian would let me hang out in her library and help her with the books. I read voraciously. I could forget any troubles that I had by opening a book. I felt accepted when I read. Reading about the problems faced by fictional characters taught me how to overcome my own.
I hope that my baby daughter learns a love of reading, and the magical experience of reading a wonderful book. I can't wait to read her Harry Potter for the first time. I hope she will love fairy tales so we can laugh and cry through Ella Enchanted, The Princess Academy, and The Goose Girl. Someday, books will be my daughter's life. I can't wait."


And last but not the least, here's Lesa from Baja Greenawalt's Cozy Book Nook, answering the question and stating how important exposure to books at an early age is.

"As a lifelong bookworm, I have never ever been without books. Even at age three, I distinctly remember cuddling next to my mother while she read Little Golden Books to me.... over and over. The thrill of knowing what was coming next in the story and the anticipation I felt as each page was turned never grew old. Oh, and how proud I was each time a book was added to my personal library!
I suspect many bookworms have similar memories and may even presume that owning books and being read to is the norm for all children. As a speech/language pathologist, let me assure you it is not. This will break your bookish heart but many 3-5 year olds on my caseload have never experienced that joy. Since exposure to books is a building block for vocabulary, language, phonemic awareness and future literacy skills, a crucial part of my language therapy program is not only reading to students but educating parents regarding the necessity of reading to their children. But what happens to the children from low income families? Those families can't afford books and may have no access to libraries. Children need books! Please help by donating to the Charity Fundraiserand Giveaway hosted by these lovely ladies!"

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These responses truly prove that reading does in fact have the power to make such an impact in people's lives. Our stories, situations, and reasons why we think books are important may be different. But at the end of the day, what we all have in common to share is our love and our appreciation for them.

We are blessed enough to be able to buy a book or two every once in a while-- to read and maybe even to collect them to put on our bookshelves. There are others who might want to do the very same thing, but can’t. But we can help. By donating even as little as 50 cents, $1, or more to this fundraiser, we might be able to contribute towards helping those in need. If we help the organization to promote literacy, imagine what these books can do for them.


13 comments:

  1. Look great! Thanks again for asking me to be part of it. :) Everyone had lovely responses.

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  2. Wow, I think you're officially the sweetest blogger I know! lol!

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  3. This was wonderful! Isn't it amazing how much reading affects our childhood?

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  4. Hi, I just awarded you The Versatile Blogger award! See my blog for more info. Cheers :)

    Danya
    http://atapestryofwords.blogspot.com

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  5. Interesting question and interesting responses. I took forever to learn to read but I've been a book addict ever since. My sons likewise took forever, but only one addict to show for it.

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  6. What a worthy cause-- it was an honor to be included! Thanks for asking me, Jillian. Loved reading all the great responses!

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  7. I love the organization First Book and I love what you're doing here getting bloggers to participate - so fun! :)

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  8. @Eleni: You are very welcome, thank you so much for supporting the cause :)

    @May: Everyone around here are soooo freakin sweet, May! Including you!

    @Emily: It really is amazing. So many different answers and reasons for something we all love!

    @danya: Thank you.

    @Lesa: You are very welcome and thank you so much for supporting the cause :)

    @readerreads: We're so excited; there's a lot of people donating :D

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