At a young age, my mother gave me a gift that will last a lifetime. She handed me pages with powers to open my mind to the endless possibilities of imagination. She taught me to love reading. My mother read to me everyday taking me to magical places that captured me in a web of words that drew images in my mind. I would bring the stories into my play spending hours acting out parts and expanding on story lines. I grew to become a bookworm just like her.
In school, I excelled in comprehension and vocabulary. It was rare not to see my nose in a book when you caught me sitting down. I loved traveling to far off realms, times in history, and through the doors of writers imaginations. My love of reading never faded just expanded while I grew into adulthood.
I remember as a young adult asking my cousins a decade younger than I, what they were reading for fun. I was appalled by their answer and saddened by their dislike to read. They grew up with computers at a time reading was not emphasized in school. They had never heard of The Hobbit. The school systems were not aware of how extensive imagination played in the social and cognitive development of children. They were caught up in the new advances of technology along with the rest of society. Books were shoved in the back of closets while TV’s and computers were always on. Imaginations fizzled as children suffered.
In the video below, John Maxwell, a writer, explains the Importance of Books through his own personal story of how his parents emphasized reading and learning. You might be wondering why I bring a video to an article on reading. Well, his story and the points he makes are good plus there is nothing wrong with learning through technology as long as reading and hands on learning are not left behind.
The importance of imagination in the development of children has been proven today through studies. Reading has been brought back to classrooms but is still not considered of the same importance as math and science. Studies have shown imagination helps children with problem solving, vital language skills, creative thinking skills, social skills, and many other important skills that help a child’s learning and success.
Now, I am a mother. I have read to my daughter since she was a baby and started chapter books with her when she was three. We were through the Little House on the Prairie series by the time she was five. My daughter has always had an active imagination and excels in comprehension and vocabulary in school. She is now twelve years old and a third generation bookworm. I have total faith she will pass on the precious gift of reading someday to her children.
I volunteered to help with reading and spelling in my daughters classes from Kindergarten to Fourth grade. Many of the children struggled grasping the basics of reading and writing. They would tell me their parents did not read to them and were not readers themselves. I witnessed first hand the lack of imagination in children today in the classrooms and through my daughters friends. The majority of families sit around the TV in the evenings, tuning out, and shutting down their minds. I have to ask why? At some point, all this lack of cognitive use and imaginative skills will catch up to people as a whole. Can we find a balance between or are people destined to only grunt again?