Monday, May 4, 2015

I don't understand people who don't read

So, I know this isn't the most original topic, but it is one that affects me personally and one that I remain baffled by.

How can people just NOT read? 

I did not grow up in a family of avid readers. My mom always bought the latest women's magazines and we had a bookshelf with some home remedy books and a Michael Jordan biography on it. Other than that, the only books that I really recall being in the house belonged to me and my little brother. (I know my dad reads my blog so please correct me if I'm wrong.) I did go to the library a lot as a kid and checked out a lot of books and movies. My parents both read to me all the time! The fact still remains - we were not a family of readers.

When I was a teenager in high school I started to read a lot more. A girl named Becca (who became my best high school friend) introduced me to the joy of reading for fun. I learned about library book sales and started going to them every year. I'd load up on bag sale day and read out of the bag for the rest of the year. I also started taking a library science "class" at school that allowed me to hang out in the school library for hours each day and I found some good reads that way. Besides that I started volunteering at the local library, which definitely had a lot more options than school. All that to say I started reading a lot.

I'm not sure at what point my dad and brother started reading for fun, but at some point we became the three readers in the family. Which brings me to my point.

I know we've all seen the statistics about American adults who read... and don't. Here are a couple of the recent ones...

So, according to these studies from 2013 and 2014, between 23 and 28 percent of Americans have not read a book in the last year. Take a second to wrap your mind around that.

28 percent of Americans have not read ONE book in the last 12 months!

I have such a hard time wrapping my head around that statistic, but I'm really not terribly surprised that this is representative of Americans. Out of the people in my immediate family (my mom, dad, brother, and husband) two out of four do not read - ever.

When I was nine and my brother was three, he would get really REALLY mad that I didn't like sweet tea. He would try to get me to drink it all the time. This continued for years. He'd try to trick me into it, guilt me into it, convince me I'd like it if I'd just TRY it! But it never worked and I still hate sweet tea. This is how I feel about reading.

For years I've tried to get my mom to read something other than a magazine. I've given her several books that were under 200 pages in hopes that she'd try them. I've done the same with my husband. In the five years I've known my husband he's read two books that I know of - The Alchemist in 2012 and The Average American Male last week. I tried to keep the momentum going (an object in motion, you know) but to no avail.

I don't understand it. Reading has done so much for me over the course of my life. My reading comprehension and vocabulary scores have been fantastic on every test I've ever taken and I promise that didn't happen because I read dictionaries! On top of being an amazing vocabulary builder, reading has taken me to amazing places. I feel like every night when I grab my book I'm living a new story and experiencing something new and exciting! It makes me incredibly sad when I think of people who don't read.

This is a constant struggle for me. I fight with myself over I really want my family to read because it's good for their brains (BRAIN POWER) or because I just want them to enjoy the same things that I do - like my brother was with me and sweet tea for years.

Do you have a family member or close friend who hates reading? Have you tried to get them to try it? What has your experience been?