By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Reading is so fantastic and integral to society that its been given its own holiday. And while most book lovers already read on a daily basis, it’s wonderful to advocate literacy just as often. At least it has a day dedicated to itself in which people are encouraged to read and to honour a genuine love of books.
While this holiday is recognized in the USA and is primarily targeted towards the advocacy of literacy for children, literacy and the love of reading can be celebrated by anyone anywhere.
With the number of publishers and imprints in Canada, the number of genres to choose from, and the number of Canadian authors who are highly acclaimed, the written word has never been more ripe than it is now. Even with the evolution of technology and the way in which people read, there seems to be a continual commitment to producing the best and most diversified forms of literature.
And though there has been a general fear in the decline of both books in print and/or bookstores, there still remains an avid group of readers that devotedly borrow, buy, collect, and read books.
Reading is not to be underrated in its importance both in a general understanding for the individual to survive and function successfully in society, but also the way in which reading builds confidence, and an opportunity to actively participate in the gift of creativity and imagination. Literature as art not only shares stories with its audience as a form of performance and entertainment, but can also house a significant comment on society at large, and can be both a reflection of society, as well as a catalyst for its change.
If anything, the works of our time can showcase and encourage important dialogue about who we are and where we are going. Stories, too, are treasure troves of the semantics of language, narrative, dialogue—all lexicons of how we think, speak, and interact with one another.
While writers can range from the obscure to the fully formed and realized literary idols, they are in essence the gatekeepers to the language and life others know, but cannot articulate.
In honour of National Reading Day, let’s relish in the ability we have to read, but also the freedom in which we can choose what to read.
Perhaps in celebration of National Reading Day, you could do (one of) the following:
make a book recommendation to someone personally or online
- lend a highly recommended book to a friend or family member who’s hesitant to read
- trade a book with a fellow bibliotaphe
- donate some well-loved books to a book charity
- join a book club
- create a book club
- create a reading room
- host a book giveaway
- host a book party
- donate money to a book foundation
- in lieu of toys, commit to buy books for children instead
- allot time in your day/evening to read
- commit to reading with your child(ren) on a daily basis
- take your children to your local, public library and register them for a new library card
- take your children to a local book store to browse and see what kind of books interest them
- volunteer at your local library to tutor others in reading
- become a reading buddy
- write a thoughtful fan letter to one of your favourite authors
- write a thoughtful letter of thanks to one of your former English teachers
- make a reading list and commit to reading each title until it’s completed
- join the 50 Book Pledge 2014 through HarperCollins Canada
- create a small, free homemade library on your property
- leave a book in a public space for someone to pick up and pass on
What do you plan on doing to celebrate National Reading Day?
What are you reading right now?
How can you personally advocate literacy today?
Which of the above suggestions might you participate in today or in future?
What do you love most about reading?