Dr. Seuss was a genius in more ways than one.
You might already feel that way. Dr. Seuss is widely admired for his way with words and his inspiring messages. In “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!” Dr. Seuss wrote,
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Common sense dictates this statement is probably true. Reading allows us to share ideas and gain new insights. It allows us to explore any topic and to continually learn. However, I recently came across a video that offers data to confirm Dr. Seuss’ poetic prophecy.
The video at the top of this post was created by Barkley on behalf of the volunteer organization Turn the Page KC and Kansas City Mayor Sly James. It tells the story of a child who cannot read at grade level. In the next chapter of life, they’re likely to drop out of high school and become unemployed. Eventually, they will have children that, like themself, cannot read to their grade level. The same story begins anew. The most staggering fact presented in the video is that city officials are estimating the number of jail cells they will need to build based on how many third grade children are not reading at grade level. This story is that of thousands more students, not only in Kansas City, but around the nation.
I cannot even imagine if this were my story. Reading has always been an integral part of my life. My parents instilled in me a love of reading that continues to this day. When I was younger, my dad would take me to the library every week. We would sit on overstuffed pillows and get lost in “story time.” Then we would check out a stack of books to enjoy at home. This tradition has continued even through my college summers. Every Saturday my dad and I would grab a coffee and head to the library. Although I’ve graduated from “story time,” I still read for pleasure at least a few minutes every day. There’s something comforting about getting lost in a good book.
So what can we do to start a new chapter and make a difference in the lives of children? Turn the Page KC says, “the simplest things make the biggest difference,” and I happen to agree. I think the first step is to develop a love of reading, because once you find a passion for reading, you’ll pass it on. Those of us already hooked know that it is almost impossible to read a great book and not share it with anyone who will listen. You’ll end up passing on this passion to your kids, your friends and everyone around you. Maybe you’ll even take the time to pass it on through volunteering at your library, local schools or organizations like Turn the Page KC.
I saw an anonymous quote once that expresses a sentiment I couldn’t say better myself: “If you think reading is boring, you’re doing it wrong.” So to help you get it right and kickstart your love of reading, here’s a list of my top five favorite books. Like I said before, it’s impossible to read a great book and not share it.
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- Hunger Games series by Suzzane Collins
- The Night Circus by Greg Morgenstern
- Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
- The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
So tonight, here’s my challenge to you. Take a trip to the library or dust off a book you already have at home. Spend a few minutes getting lost in a story and learning something new. For, as Dr. Seuss tells us, “If you read with your eyes shut, you’re likely to find that the place where you’re going is far, far behind.”