I was delighted to see a sign in a bookstore window over the holiday period. It read “Read today, Lead tomorrow,” and spoke directly to one of my passions as an English teacher. We have focused a great deal of late on enhancing the literacy skills of our boys, supported in the knowledge that reading not only assists with all academic subjects, it also helps guide the emotional development of young men. As part of the “Growing Good Men Project,” at our School we have introduced two programs for our boys, notably the DEAR program (Drop Everything and Read) which occurs for 20 minutes on every Friday morning and the “Real Boys Read” program where our Year 7’s are paired with a Year 10 Mentor who reads out loud to them once a week. Whilst there is a great deal of research which validates the impact of being read aloud to, the notion of reading here serves as a vehicle for the development of a relationship based on conversation which serves to stimulate both students. Some interesting research emerged for me over the break, and whilst focused on the context of the USA, I would suggest that the results would be fairly similar in our own country.
33% of High School Graduates never read another book in their lives.
42% of College Graduates never read another book following graduation.
57% of new books are not read to completion.
70% of adults haven’t visited a bookstore in the last five years.
80% of families did not buy or read a book in the last year.
This term, our students are challenged to read and read widely. Reading not only opens the imagination to the world of possibility, it helps our young people understand the complexities of the world, the triumphs and tragedies that form the duality of the human condition, and enables them to understand themselves and their perspectives on life. As many of us are engrossed in the final season of “Game of Thrones,” a reminder from the author of the power of reading.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
Dr Steven Middleton