Why read?

Some rights reserved by murphyeppoonI want to hand this post over to some young readers today. First, though, I’ll explain the background.

The brilliant Zoe interviewed me for her blog recently, and you can read the full interview at Bookhi. All of Zoe’s questions were fantastic, but one in particular had me thinking for ages and ages. And ages. And this question was as follows…

“If you had to convince a non-reader to read, what would you say?”

Well. I thought about it for so long that I decided to use it as the basis for a talk I gave last week at King Edward VI Community College in Totnes, Devon, on the day they launched their great Readathon. I asked girls and boys there to answer the question for me, and I absolutely loved every single one of the varied replies they gave. Below, with the kind permission of students and staff, are a few of the answers.

“I would say reading is a magical thing. It’s like you go to a totally new world, you could just relax and take in the atmosphere. No one can tell you what to read, you can find a book that describes you. I never used to like reading and when I got into books, it’s just like all the authors get me.” — by Amelia

“I love books because when my real life maybe isn’t great or I don’t feel happy, I read a book and then I am in the world of the book and can forget about my life for a while.” — by Alisha

“When you start a book, you’re taken into a whole other world. You get swept away on a river of imagination, into a lagoon of different thoughts. Your imagination forms a rule over you, making your mind stretch into different shapes and sizes. When you read, you go into a universe of worlds unlike any other you’ve ever experienced in your life.” — by Olivia

“I would say that a book isn’t just a bunch of words on paper. There is always something behind it. When you read, you discover a whole new world. It just pops out before your eyes. Books are probably one of the greatest things in the world.” — by Dylan

“Books are magical. They can be anything. They are fun to read and you learn so much without even knowing. Books contain the past, present and what you might be in the future. Let your imagination run wild.” — by Owen

“Reading gives you freedom. When you read, it feels like the world is in your hands. You can shape, change and remodel the world, and the best part is that when you finally put the book down, you can return to your life as it is.” — by Magenta

Over to you… Do you agree with the answers above? Is there anything you’d add? I’d love to know!

With kind permission of Classroom Free

Photo credits:
Girl reading, top left, reproduced under Creative Commons, some rights reserved by murphyeppoon.
Family reading, above centre, reproduced with kind permission, copyright Classroom Free. (And, ahem, I just about detectedΒ  Split by a Kiss in that pic…!)

Thanks a lot, everyone!


41 thoughts on “Why read?

  1. Thank you for such a wonderful post, Luisa. I was asked “Why do you think people read?” the other day and I floundered for ages. Such a great question, so hard to answer (for me, at least!).

  2. Fab post, Luisa and what fantastic answers. My favourite is ‘a book isn’t just a bunch of words’. So true! A story can be so many different things to different people which is why some people love a certain book and some hate it.

  3. Hi Luisa. Brillent post.

    I tell people that, (when i’m asked of course) You can escape and live as another person for hours at a time then when you come out of a book but, the downside is that when you come out of it, you don’t know what world is real. πŸ™‚

  4. Fantastic post! I think I have learned so much about life, love and about other people by reading. I’ve been carried off to other worlds, taken out of myself, allowed to indulge myself, felt highs, lows, anger and endorsement. Anyone who doesn’t do it is only living half a life.

  5. Fantastic post, Luisa. What a great question – and what powerful answers. I love that Amelia was once a reluctant reader, but just had to find the sort of books that spoke to her to realise what all the fuss was about.

  6. When you pick up a book for the first time, it can seem really daunting. I can remember when i hated reading, it seemed boring and strenuous and a total waste of time. But having the freedom to read my own choice of book, changed EVERYTHING! Not only did I start to love everything about them, but i really appreciated the time and effort it must have been to create a magical orld for other people to delve into. The brilliance of a book is seeing everything how you want it, of course the foundations are placed, but everyone’s private image of it is unique and different, and i think thats something really special. I would love to be an author, and i think a book is the one thing that could change the world. If i found someone that hadn’t read a book before, or didnt like reading, i would tell them this. You can watch a film and have an image planted in your head that everybody else will see, or you can experience a unique take on something truly magical, that will be different from everybody else’s πŸ˜€ xox

  7. I think that books aren’t just magical – they’re like a key, or a portal. They open so many doors – they found a love for English and an imagination and a sense of creativity. They let you develop and learn and take new ideas on board. They educate you in a fun, bearable way, and they let you travel for no cost at all. So basically, they’re brilliant!

  8. Thank you! You made me smile! I was thinking about the answer to this question for ages too myself, but none of them top the answers above. I think that non-readers need to find a book that suits them – if you read a boring book, then it will be boring! I loved your reply anyway, even though it did have you pondering for ages πŸ˜€

  9. For me, reading is my escape, my opportunity to live a thousand lives, meet a thousand friends, experience a thousand things that I can’t in my life. The characters fly off the pages and whisper in my ear, and I share their pain, their smiles, their laughter. Reading is magic, waiting to be found.

  10. Brill post, I love all the quotes that were said, and I think they’re so true and inspiring.
    I love reading books, it’s like ur escape from the world, somewhere to go when you’re feeling down, or you just want to read. When I rea, the characters, the setting, the story line, it becomes part of my life. I live an breathe with the characters, someones sad in a book, I’m sad, a death, a death for me.
    I love reading, it’s the best thing to do in the world, there’s nothing better.

  11. Reading is my favourite thing to do!! I love to sit down and become best friends with a new person, i love to feel what they feel, thier pain, their anger, their happiness. When a character is happy there is a grin plastered on my face, if they are sad i often find myself in tears. When i have a bad day I can feel happy for a character and it cheers me up, or i can forget my own sorrow and bury myself in theirs!! Reading is like entering a parrellel universal, i love it!!
    Brill post!!!
    xx πŸ™‚

  12. I would say ‘Every time you read a book, you make new friends. You get to know new people (sort of…!), you get to discover a new world, and so much more.’

    That is a really good question, Zoe! And brilliant post Luisa! I love some of the responses the people gave!

  13. I think of it as making new friends as well – sometimes, I like them so much that I don’t want the story to end and will do everything I can to stop it from happening. In fact, there was one series of books where I refused to read the final story in the series for twenty years so that the main character and story stayed alive for me!

    I did eventually read it, of course, and had that sweet sense of satisfaction you get at the conclusion of a great story. And I went right back to the start of the series and read them all again πŸ™‚

  14. Pingback: Gold! | Girls Heart Books

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