I read a column in the local paper about why people don’t read any more. His rather glib response to the question was to blame it on the Dick and Jane books schools used to teach reading from 1940 to 1970. Admittedly, those were not riveting books even for a first grader, but some of us still managed to develop a love of reading. Those books fell out of favor more than fifty years ago, so they really have nothing to do with the low book-reading rate today. In fact, most of those who read on a regular basis seem to be those who learned from the Dick and Jane books. Younger folks grew up in a later era with a large array of diversions to choose from, and perhaps books are simply too labor intensive for them, though I don’t know for sure. I do know that many of my acquaintances don’t have the time to read; some can’t sit still long enough; and others just don’t see the point.
To be honest, I don’t care. I read and I have access to a library. That’s what counts to me.
The one thing that the columnist said that struck a chord, and why I am writing this piece, is his comment: “Maybe the government should give people an additional tax exemption for every book report they attach to their tax return.”
Such a brilliant idea! If you take all the money the government hands out to literacy programs and programs purporting to get people to read and put it in a separate account to pay for book reports, it might not do much for literacy, but it sure would be a windfall for us readers.
One of the big problems with getting kids to read is that their parents don’t read books, so they don’t have any reading role models. And since the parents don’t like books, they don’t urge their children to read. But if they got money for each book report they or their kids did? I bet they’d be more willing to help their youngsters read. I imagine there would be a lot of cheating in such a program, but it wouldn’t really matter. If a kid copied a book report from the internet, it would be enhancing their non-game-playing computer skills. And if the parents wrote the reports for the kids, they’d have to at least scan the books, which would allow the kids to see books in their parents’ hands.
Come to think of it, from my standpoint, it might not be such a good idea. I do tend to be rebellious, and if I am being urged to read, I might feel the cold fingers of the government prodding me, which would make me dig in my heels.
Though perhaps not, because . . .
It’s what I do.
What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?
A fun book for not-so-fun times.
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