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Sharing by Writing in Books

Looking at Pharaohs
Photo by @topgold snapped with Nokia Lumia.

I TEACH ADULTS who rarely read the supplemental material I give them. They also don't carve out the time for reading in any form, on screen or on paper.

I think that's a problem because I have experienced the joy of reading. I've watched our six year old daughter graduate into senior infants with the ability to sound out (and often guess) words on a page. At first it was hard. Now it's like eating. We spoon-fed her for a while but now she wants the whole banana by herself.

I read Evelyn O'Connor's recommendations on propelling young teens to move beyond the soft and mushy banana content into real meat that great authors and great writing offer on pages. In my case, the trick is in the talking. We talk about what I'm reading and about what Mia has learned by reading. It makes great dinnertime conversation.

I remember growing up looking at bookshelves in our grandparents' home. At first, I couldn't reach the top shelves where National Geographic showed nude Africans in the desert. Then I discovered the public library had those magazines at wheelchair level. I become a regular in the reading room. My mom got me a library card and I used it to read every Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew story on the shelves. School never got in the way.

During my university days, I encountered young men who could read faster than 2000 words per minute with better than 70% comprehension. I learned to hoover content from pages to my course work. And I got into the habit of reading a book a week.

A book reading habit is hard to maintain nowadays. You can channel surf or get instant gratification from reading short form through social networks. It's only natural to want instant gratification in HD 1080p quality. We want to scrub forward to the fight scenes (or the sex scenes) and avoid words from sponsors. That is the media landscape I hope to subordinate with two kids under the age of seven who often join me to explore things like the building of the Pyramids (in the photo).

And if I do it right, our Irish-born kids will enjoy every rainy day through the increased number of pages they'll turn during an average sun-split week.

[Bernie Goldbach collects hard-covered books to hand down to another generation.]