This week I went back to my old high school.
I was asked to speak on the the value of reading, books and literacy as the Ambassador for the National Year of Reading.
Here is a copy of the presentation.
For me, reading whet my appetite for travel. Books influenced the places I saw and connected me to people I met on the road. Reading gave me a broader understanding of where I had landed, the culture and the history of a place, before I got off the plane to explore it myself.
There’s something about books that will always trump the web. All the effort that goes into producing one book; edits, re-edits, interviews, and years of people’s lives. Reading a book is a completely different sensation to accessing the instant, information everywhere stories available on the web.
It’s a relief, an escape, an immersion into a different world.
I was shocked to learn that a staggering 46% of Australians have difficulty reading. 46%.
Almost half of Australia can’t read newspapers, understand the instructions on a medicine bottle or read sufficiently to meet the most basic demands of everyday life and work, let alone read a book.
It was good to reflect on how reading has shaped the life I lead.
How has it changed yours? What can we do to encourage children to read – and level up the 46% missing out?