Reading: the Bread of Life
by Leslie Woodford
I just read an interesting article from the Jakarta Post. It points out a significant cultural difference between Indonesia and developed countries around the world. The author explains with surprise about a childhood experience in which a young Finnish girl living in Jakarta told her that she reads a 500 page novel in a couple days. The author was amazed that this young girl read a novel so quickly. She explains that the love of reading in developed nations is instilled in children from their earliest days. She believes that the love of reading leads to greater development for the individual, the community, and the country.
Wow! Wow! Wow! I never thought of reading and the love of reading as a cultural value. As a young child, I grew up in the home of a reading mother. We had no TV service in the Solomon Islands, so my mother read to me every night before bed. It was a ritual that I cherish. Each night we'd sit down with a novel (and I'd usually have a bowl of ice cream) and she'd read to me. I could already read, of course, but the warm feeling of spending time together created a positive attitude about reading. I learned that reading is a pleasurable experience.
As a teen, I continued to read for pleasure. I read countless juvenile fiction stories. Regular trips to the library--which was only a block away from our house--provided a continuous supply of reading matterial. I also read for information and to learn new things. Besides research projects assigned at school (boring reading), I remember reading for information that was a pleasure. For example, I desperately wanted a dog. I begged my parents for some time. When they finally consented, I went straight to the books to learn how to care for, train, and raise a dog. I still remember the lessons I learned about dog care.
As an adult, I read for information and for pleasure. I also devote time to reading to my children. Each night before bed, my two little ones snuggle up to me, one on each side and we read. We read picture books for the little one, and easy "boy" novels for the other one. We love it. The warm feeling of being cuddled up builds a love of reading that I hope will last them a lifetime.
To learn more about this topic and gain cultural insight about reading, see the full story here: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/10/15/reading-culture-the-long-journey-becoming-a-developed-nation.html.
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