Black Community: We Are Not Reading.

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( Black History month has just passed, and I feel it’s time we have a discussion surrounding books. This might seem a bit off putting, but we need to come to terms with the fact that as a people it seems we are not reading anymore. This is so very important, and concerning, considering all that our ancestors endured for the right to acquire knowledge. Reading a book was once a crime people…and now it appears to be an afterthought. Before someone tried it, let me be clear…it doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical copy book or a digital book, we are not reading. Social media has a purpose and can be beneficial, but it does not take the place of reading.

Black Community: We Are Not Reading.

As a matter of fact, looking at posts on any social media platform, you can see proof of the lack of reading in our community. One argument made is reading books is time consuming; and life just moves too fast. We’re busier than our predecessors and simply are short on time. The problem with that logic is we make time for things that are important to us, furthermore the book nerds of this time are no less busy…reading just matters to them. Not taking the time to read means we will have difficulties coming up with viable solutions for the issues of our time, and it will also mean there will be a disconnect in our understanding of the issues being presented to us every day. Literally, some of us make the wrong voting arguments, and vote for people that are in opposition to our best interest because we did not read; more so we did not comprehend. This lapse in reading gives way to the lapse in comprehension, and it leads to poor decision making.

Many of our children are reading below grade level. Ask any teacher and they will tell you reading, and reading comprehension is a serious battle in the education of our children. Books are simply not a priority, and they were never seen as something that is enjoyable. If the life of the adult is moving at breakneck speed the child’s is doing the same, or something is given to them to pacify them…in many cases it is electronics. If that is how books are introduced…it might work, but we much be honest about the nature of a child…they will go from books to YouTube in a heartbeat. If you say, they can have books read to them on YouTube, okay…but attention span is still an issue.

Furthermore, why won’t you read the book to them? This is very important. Small children learn words from hearing them, they will eventually learn to read and enunciate as they are read to. They will also learn to have an appreciation for books, as there is a correlation between quality time with their loved ones and reading time. This is also how reading endurance is built. Just as runners build long distance endurance with consistency over time…reading long periods is built the same way. Far too many of our children are having trouble with reading in state testing, in part, because they lack reading endurance. For many this goes back to children that were not read to. Yes, life is busy, but we can put social media, people, consoles, and whatever else there is on pause for 20-30 minutes to read to our children. This small investment of time is vital to the education and future of our little ones.

Reading is something those around us should see. Just as the kids see us interact with others, they see us engage in some of our hobbies…they need to see us engage in a book. I thought it pretty cool that I have a dear sister friend that shuts down her house on Saturday for at least an hour, and its book time. The entire family grabs a book of their choice and reads. However, this is only possible because an example of reading is being set in the home. We have got to get our community back to books. Read for information, entertainment, just because…. please read. If you need motivation look at our people. Look at the traps being set in the halls of state and federal legislature. Right here in Louisiana our new governor is creating traps that would route our kids to prison with little to no chance of getting out. Reading is more than fundamental; it is a life line. If you need more motivation, remember many dies for our right to read. That should inspire you enough.

Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

May also connect with this sister via Twitter; ChelleStJames.