I recently had to write a paper on something that I want to do when I "grow up" (not that I really want to grow up in the traditional way). It took me forever to decide what to write about. That's always the case when I need to write a paper. I spend longer deciding what to write about then the actual writing. Then it hit me, much the same as it did at the WASL. Why not write about writing? Writing, reading, books and literacy are things I love and am very passionate about. But, as I did more and more research, I found I’m part of a minority in that respect.
A recent survey done by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy states that 50% of the adult population is not prepared to read any complicated or deep text. That is the result of a gross decline in adult reading. I always knew that teenagers were on a serious literacy decline. When I was in 7th grade there was more than one occasion when my English teacher and I would start talking about a book in class and we were both surprised when no one else had read it or even heard about it. As a class we read the classic “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and to my shock and sadness, I was the only student who had read it.
But when I found out that adult reading is also on the decline, I was equally shocked and saddened. My resolve to be a writer is even stronger now. I see evidence all over the place on times when a well written book has made all the difference in a person’s life. I write not just for myself, though that is a big part of why I write, but I write so that others will (hopefully) one day read it. I am constantly challenging my work and looking at it from new angles, not for myself, but for that one person who reads it and maybe it changes their life.
All avid readers, people who are truly passionate about the art of reading, have a read more than one book that spoke to them. That touched them in the deepest part of who they are and the words painted pictures in their minds that made them hunger. Made them strive for something more. I want to bring that feeling to everyone. I want everyone to feel that overpowering feeling of being touched by someone’s heart put on paper. Because that’s what writing is. It’s the authors heart being put on display. So this treasure, should not be forgotten. It should be cherished and relished for years to come. It also deserves to be shared and be seen by others.
So please help me in my quest to bring the joy and beauty of reading back. Find a favorite book, and give it away. Give it to someone who you think would appreciate it. To someone who could be touched by it. Someone who’s life could be touched by it.