I read the other day that UGA (The University of Georgia) did a survey of its past Journalism. Graduates. They found that seven out of ten DO NOT READ. Is that not amazing? Those surveyed said they got their “information” from Social Networks and Internet News. The majority surveyed had not read a newspaper in the preceding week. It didn’t say if they had read “Oprah” or “QT” or “OK” but if they had read anything I expect it would be one of those serious news sources.
I’m not really surprised by the results of the UGA survey. I have three grown daughters with families, one of whom is a graduate of UGA’s journalism school. My daughters range in age from 30 to 50 and none of them read. Actually, none of them have ever read anything I have written – novels, short stories, magazine articles, newspaper editorials – nothing.
In general I think that is a shame, not that my own family hasn’t bothered to read my work, but that they don’t read ANYTHING. I have always been a voracious reader and my daughters observed my reading habit as they grew up but they did not inherit that characteristic of their father. Of course, I am from a generation that survived the Great Depression. I didn’t realize it at the time that we were poor, because everyone else was too. So my “escapism” was in reading. I read everything in my high school library and if I loved the book enough to want it for my own I stole it. But, I may have been young but I wasn’t stupid so I also stole the card file on the book so the librarian wouldn’t miss it. Crime doesn’t pay, though. Over the years terrible people “borrowed” my treasured stolen books-and never returned them. God’s way of reminding me not to steal.
Of course, public schools don’t teach kids to read or write anymore. And there are private schools who are also remiss in this most necessary part of education. I have one daughter who went to a prestigious private school and proceeded to get a college degree in some subject I’ve never heard of. Although she is competent in all other aspects she can’t write a simple declarative sentence. And don’t even ask her to spell a word as long as say, “ostentatious.”
The pity of all this is that reading is such a pleasure. That my kids, and yours, are missing out on one of life’s most satisfying “treats” is just a shame. I know you, if you are part of a young couple with children, are busy trying to survive in these politically-motivated hard times. But, if you can find a minute please READ to your kids. It’s up to you to give them the gift of reading, otherwise they will never get it.