Reading Habits

By: Neil Mufson
One of the most important goals of The Country School is to teach children to become fluent, joyful, critical, lifelong readers. It sounds simpler than it is. The fact is that much of the our society’s prevailing values and pace work against these very significant goals, goals which can enrich children’s lives inordinately and even have the very practical impact of greatly boosting things like SAT scores.

I was shocked when I recently came across research which cited these findings:
  • 33% of American high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives;
  • 42% of American college graduates never read another book the rest of their lives;
  • 80% of American families have not read or bought a book in the last year;
  • the more a child reads, the likelier it is that he or she is able to understand others’ emotions; and
  • reading one hour per day in your chosen field will make you an international expert in seven years!
While there is no doubt that our society has migrated towards people reading less and less, and the things they read being shorter and shorter, there is great value in sustained reading and attention to books. Not only can readers experience different worlds and times and learn about diverse topics, they can better appreciate multiple perspectives. Regular reading also provides mental stimulation which improves thinking, memory, and analytical skills and builds stronger focus and attention. The model of great writing also improves readers’ writing abilities.

Reading requires time and effort and slowing down, all good models for our growing children.

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