Americans should take reading more seriously

A book to a young child is magical. It is a learned escape that helps them cope with life as they grow up and need somewhere to look for answers.

Books help a child to evolve intellectually, giving them an opportunity to develop vocabulary and sentence structure. As children begin to grow older, they will be handed academic books, and if they have not built a foundation of literary knowledge, then they begin behind the other kids that have.

Although reading to young children is important, it is also important for them to love reading as well. Having the ability to comprehend complex readings is essential to being successful academically. Without the proper diet of literature as a child, one might not be as developed as much as one could be. 

Reading is important for academics, but imagination, to me, is just as important. It is more than just getting an A on a paper or on a test.

It is discovering stories that we can relate to no matter how far-fetched the plot line may seem. Finding worlds that only exist in the literary world is essential to reading. As a fiction writer, myself, I believe we find bits and pieces of ourselves in fictional stories.

They are comprised of emotions, beliefs, and morals that we all were raised to believe, and without this foundation it is nearly impossible to evolve further. Think of a world where everyone had extremely low reading comprehension, and imagine the endless misunderstandings and mistakes that would happen.

At a time when our society needs more thinking individuals that can comprehend what life has to throw at them, we would be in a hole without the ability to figure things out on our own.

The ability to analyze complex storylines starts when we are children reading Dr. Seuss, along with the other classics.

I attended a community college this past fall, and there was a tremendous number of students that could not pass a simple middle school grammar test. My encounter with one student in particular led me to believe that reading is the most crucial part of the academic world.

In reading one of his essays I could only put together certain fragments of sentences, and the spelling was rarely correct. I could not believe that a college student would write in this manner, but perhaps he was never read to as a child?

Most likely he never developed that love for reading and therefore, never developed the skills of comprehension and writing. It is a privilege to be able to read and write in this country of ours, and it is often taken for granted.

Think of what it would be like not to have this ability, and think of how we can unlock doors for future generations by giving them the gift of reading. It is a powerful gift of exploration and knowledge, but I believe it all starts as a child, with the parents opening a book and reading aloud to their child.

Matthew Davis is a sophomore writing major from Philadelphia, Penn.