Tuesday, 12 April 2011
I think I may be in some strife
today because of a letter I wrote to the state newspaper. It was printed this morning. I have already had an early morning jogger - who clearly knew me although I do not know him - tell me I am wrong. He must have been up very early to get to the letters pages before heading out for a run - or does he work for the paper? He might. Children, he told me, do not have time to read books - "except in school". Of course, I was saying that children should read more. Oddly, there are other people who have told me "children do not have time to read". I am naturally aware of the "after-school" phenomenon. This is the necessity of keeping your little darlings occupied every moment of the afternoon lest they "waste time" and the parents are not able to keep up with other parents. After all if little Billy is doing five after school activities then little Joe needs to be doing at least that many. Of course there is also "homework". There are things to be "researched" on the computer and the endless sheets of "activities" that must be completed. But, even with that, is there no time to read? Is it possible to cut down on television time or computer games time? What has happened to reading a chapter before you turn out the light? "We don't have time to go to the library" and "They don't seem to like reading much" are other excuses. Yes, people find excuses not to read. It is much easier to push a button on a remote control and then just sit there. It is for this reason I suspect my suggestion children should be encouraged to read, perhaps even required to read, by choosing their own books from extensive lists (in well stocked school and public libraries) will be criticised. How dare I suggest that reading is at least as important as football or tennis coaching? How dare I suggest that reading is at least as important as computer time or texting messages to a friend they saw half an hour ago? How dare I suggest that a trip to the library is as important as slouching down the street to check out the potential for graffiti? Obviously I am seriously in the wrong here - or is the attitude towards reading wrong?