The importance of reading
Being able to read opens the doors of independence and freedom for the mind. It's fascinating to know that different cultures have had this skill for thousands of years and often regarded writing and reading to be a gift from the gods. From the wonder in the child who realises he can suddenly enjoy reading a book without laboriously working out each word, to the satisfaction of completing a university assignment, our ability to read (and write) can be imensely satisfying. One of my joys as a parent was reading books with my family. Often the older kids would still look over my shoulder as we shared a picture book with the younger ones. I remember a memorable occasion when the whole family(husband too) were in the grip of an exciting Harry Potter moment. A colleague recently showed me a biography of a 98 year-old Afro-American gentleman who had just learnt to read! It's never too late. Reading expands our horizons and is almost essential for life in this Information Age. Still I think it's vital that we nurture and support the survival of oral traditions worldwide as these are links to our ancient past. Recording or writing them down is only a part of this and I think humanity would loose something special with their demise.