This guest blog post is by Nicole Ferguson, Morning Reporter, Fox 8 WGHP.
Over the weekend, I took my family on assignment with me. This trip to shoot Forever Family, a series focused on highlighting youth in foster care and finding them adoptive homes, landed us on the North Carolina coast. We arrived about an hour before the rest of the crew, and my husband’s first thought was to kill time — not in the mall or burger joint, but in the bookstore.
This is part of the reason we fell in love.
To my delight, without any coercion, our 16 month old daughter headed straight to the children’s section to flip through the likes of books highlighting her favorite dog, Clifford, the beautiful Disney princesses and the adventures of the Bernstein Bears. We buy her these books, and they were among our favorites as children. We take joy in reading to her every single day. She’s had that exposure since we learned she was in the womb.
We also find joy in reading to one another. Yes, a romantic night in our house could mean a special dinner by candlelight, or reading aloud by nightlight! During the 630 miles we drove this weekend, I read aloud a book I remember my mother reading when I was a child. I bought it simply because I remembered her reading it. My husband and I enjoyed this as much as our conversation with each other, or any music from our favorite jazz albums.
I’m writing about my family’s love for reading to make an obvious point. Reading is just like anything else you may practice in your home. It’s contagious. Your children emulate you. It’s important.
In my line of work, not being well-read is one of the worst disservices one can commit. It immediately shows when you have no point of reference for current events, or when you lack the ability to escape “go-to” phrases in writing. Reading allows for more intelligent conversation in the most mundane of places. Best of all, reading can allow you to escape the most mundane of places!
In all seriousness, you want to talk jobs, or the lackthereof, and this economy? Try landing a smaller piece of the pie with no literacy skills . In 2007, The National Endowment for the Arts surveyed two-thirds of employers who ranked reading comprehension as “very important” for high school graduates. They also noted 38 percent of those employers believe most of those graduates are completely lacking in the basic skill. You can almost see the resumes headed for the trashcan. The same report links readers to being more likely to participate in volunteering, civic responsiblity, even exercising. It gets the juices juicing in your head!
Seems like the point is reading can serve as the nucleus to all things healthy living. I really didn’t need a survey to prove it. I can tell you who among my friends are non-readers. They are the friends who receive the least bit of my time, simply because there’s a gap in our common interests and conversation.
I salute Guilford County Schools in their 3 million books challenge. Even more deserving of the salute are the parents like mine, the parents my husband and I hope to be, who set the challenge in place by making reading a way of life.