Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reading Day

DAY TO READ campaign

Soccer Mom in Denial, founder of Music Mondays, is trying to pull us on board for a very worthy cause.

Despite being a dedicated blogger herself, she is asking us to put away our blogs for a day on January 10, 2008. Why, you may ask? To read a book.

Anyone who blogs regularly reads every day. Here are some statistics, though, about reading in general (at least here in the U.S.):

* only 30% of 13-year-olds read almost every day
* the number of 17-year-olds who never read for
pleasure increased from 9 percent in 1984 to 19
percent in 2004 - that is 1 in 5 kids doesn't read for
* Almost half of Americans between ages 18 and 24
never read books for pleasure
*The average person between ages 15 and 24 spends 2 to
2 1/2 hours a day watching TV and 7 minutes reading

And here is a direct quote from the article that got SMID thinking in the first place:

"The poorest Americans who read did twice as much
volunteering and charity work as the richest who did
not read" [a direct quote of Dana Gioia, NEA
Chairman] "The habit of regular reading awakens
something inside a person that makes him or her take
their own life more seriously and at the same time
develops the sense that other people's lives are

Books were my saviors during a very chaotic and difficult childhood. I still remember the day when my elementary school librarian took me over to the fiction section and set Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time in my hands. I'd never met a character like Meg before. I didn't know there were others out there who felt the way I did. Meg became my best friend, and sustained me through a year of cruelty at school and confusion and family tragedy at home.

To support Reading Day, I'm planning to blog a bit about a different book each time I post, as part of my general posts, between now and January 9th. I'd love to see what books have also been important to my blogging friends. But on January 10th, I'm shutting the old computer down and reading. And then we can all come back together on January 11th and report on what it was like and what we read.

So, wanna join? If so, please get the code for the button from me at jenshaines at gmail dot com and hang it in your side bar. It will go nicely where that Nablopomo button has been sitting all month. ;-)

Breaking News! Dana Gioia will actually be speaking on the report that was the basis for the article, and about the state of reading in the U.S. in general, on NPR's Talk of the Nation at 2:00 p.m. EST today. Catch it if you can!


soccer mom in denial said...

You've been an awesome partner through creating this (something you didn't give yourself credit for).

And I LOVE the idea of posting something literary between now and January 9th.

So glad that Meg was there for you. Sorry that you needed her in that way.

Flower Child said...

I'm now collecting a list of children's books to read - that I missed in childhood. A Wrinkle In Time, The Princess Bride...

painted maypole said...

I think this is such a great idea, and will definately join the reading crew!

Jen said...

SMID - Meg will *always* be a good friend ;-) And I'm so glad you came up with this idea!

Flower - another great series for your nieces or you is the Dealing with Dragons series. It's about a princess who runs away and begs to be kidnapped by a dragon so she can avoid marriage to an insipid prince. She becomes the apprentice of the FEMALE dragon and the adventures take off from there.

Maypole - it would be wonderful to have you aboard! Just write me or SMID for the button code.

Jan said...

I read every day. In the winter I read a book a week and start another. In the summer when I am home more, I'll read 2-3 books a week... and still find time to blog. Great idea though.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea! I'm looking foward to the 10th.

Gunfighter said...

Wooooooooooo hoooooooooooooo!

I'm there and my post is up.

I can't wait to review the N encyclopedia!

Geeks rule! (wicked rule!)

Wholly Burble said...

Great idea--I'll work on a post to link back and get the news out! Thanks to both SMID and you for getting this going.