Lighting a Candle Instead of Cursing the Lack of Reading

Once again another survey has emerged noting the decline of book reading among Americans across all formats–print, digital or audio. The new Pew Research Center Survey confirms a long-term trend. As more forms of entertainment arise and as education levels decline, reading goes down.

We can decry

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and moan and gnash our teeth about this. Or we can take a simple step that can have decades-long impact. We can give a book to a child and read it to him or her. Making reading a fun routine at an early age is in my view, the single best thing we can do to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.

There are many excellent, well-illustrated, well-written books to choose from. One I’ve been recommending lately is The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak (of The Office, Saving Mr. Banks). Novak breaks all the rules in this wonderful and delightful children’s book by sticking to the one rule that guides all read-to books: the reader has to read all the words on the page–no matter what! This leads readers and listeners into wild worlds of silliness and hilarity.

And yes,

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there are indeed no pictures. In an image driven world, Novak affirms the power of the written word–as well as the performed word–all on its own, without illustration though with the creative use of typography. The book turns average readers into master performers as they weave back and forth between the two personas Novak foists on them.

The result is listeners who ask for the book to be read over and over again, with all the words–no matter what.

A must-read-to book for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors. Light a spark to fire the joy of books.

Photo credit: Christe Le Peau