Saturday, September 13, 2014

Why Do We Read?

Earlier this week it was National Literacy Day, and to see it celebrated in different ways was so encouraging to me. I'm a huge reader and as a future teacher I value literacy a lot because of how important it is. My first semester of college I took a literacy course from who is now the head of the English department. On our very last day he sat us down and talked to us about why reading is important and why he loves it so much. It literally moved me to tears. I wrote a post about it on my tumblr afterwards, and in honor of National Literacy Day I want to share that with you.

Why Do We Read?

“We read to know that we are not alone.”
            C.S. Lewis

Why do we read? I was asked this question today by my literature professor in our final lecture of the year. There were no notes taken, and we all sat there and listened to him talk about the reason that we read, and why reading is so important. We talked about stories, and what stories do, and how all of us are storytellers. We students added our input when asked. It was honestly one of the best classes I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. At one point, Professor Gutjahr was talking about his love of literature and why it is so important in society and he started to cry. It was so hard to not cry with him, because what he was saying felt like he was talking about me. Stories are a way to escape, a way to experience new things, a way to gain a new perspective on life, a way to gain knowledge, a way to learn about ourselves.
Think about the books you read. You read them because they interest you, or because someone recommended it to you, or maybe just because you liked the cover. Then you start to read that book, and you discover all the magic and mystery that that book holds. You discover a new world, go on adventures, find a character or situation that you relate too. This is what keeps you reading. This is what makes you love that book, and keep coming back to reading it. We find things that we can relate to, and in the end we learn a little bit more about ourselves.

So go pick up a book. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book you’ve read a million times or one you’ve never heard of. You never know what you can learn from a book. Tell stories to whoever will listen. If no one will listen, write them down. Stories are how we communicate. Stories are our memories, our legacies, our reasons for being. Stories are what keep us alive, even after we’re dead. Never stop reading. Never stop being a storyteller.

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