One hundred and fourteen years ago today, Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, was born. In 1997, the National Education Association adopted Geisel’s birthday as National Read Across America Day.
Dr. Seuss led the way in encouraging Americas’ youth to read. Seuss’s famous work The Cat in the Hat was written entirely from a list of around 250 words children needed to learn.
Reading in the technological age has both pros and cons. Using programs like Nook and Kindle, one has access to a massive collection of books on screens as large as computers and as small as phones. Readers don’t have to tote books around to read while traveling or relaxing. Libraries are stored in pockets.
But the technological age has also created a culture ripe with distractions from reading. It’s easier just to “watch the movie” than to sit down over page after page. Social media pages are full of text with little organization or value. Even audiobooks, though they play an important role in getting people into the stories, keep some readers from the benefits of print.
Reading keeps our minds sharp and increases our intelligence. Dr. Seuss famously wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
When we read, we transport ourselves into other worlds, see things through others’ eyes and learn to understand views from other’s perspectives.
Reading is essential to our progress and prosperity and to the places we’ll go.
The world’s most vicious dictators banned and burned books with ideas they deemed “unworthy” or opposed to the authority of the state.
Joseph Brodsky, an author exiled from Soviet Russia said, “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
What good are all the books in Mack Library if they are only sitting on the shelves?
It’s one thing to live in a society that isn’t allowed to read; it’s another thing entirely when you live in a society where you can read without limits and choose not to read at all.
According to The World Bank, around 14 percent of the world population, 1 billion people, are illiterate. For the other 6.5 billion people, it would be interesting to gauge how many are aliterate, able to read but otherwise unwilling to read.
Fredrick Douglas said, “Once you learn to read, you will forever be free.” Don’t let yourself become enslaved to ignorance through apathy.
Why not take advantage of a privilege few throughout history have received? One so many are denied in the world even today?
College life is mostly chaotic and hectic. Even the most avid readers might struggle to find the time to crack open a good book, but with enough searching, they will find a few minutes to put aside for such an important purpose.
The staff of The Collegian challenges the student body to make the time to read at least one book outside of their textbooks and classes before the semester’s end.
Do it for Read Across America Day. Do it to improve yourself. Do it to relax. Do it for Dr. Seuss.