I saw the most amazing thing on the Today Show yesterday morning. Warmed my heart, caused my serotonin levels to shoot through the roof, and of course it centered around a topic I’m crazily passionate about: Reading.
Oh, my God, do I love to read. Always have. Even before I could do so myself, my entire family read to me (I was the baby:). And still today one of the biggest angst-producers in my life is not having enough time to read for pleasure, as I still read for a living (which I love).
My friends read, and often we sit around and talk of books we’ve loved (or didn’t). And like me, many were read to at a young age. I’ve always believed and still do today that it forms a part of our bond 🙂
But anyhow, this Today story focused on Dr. Carolyn Boone, a pediatrician, and part of a nonprofit program called “Reach Out and Read,” started by Dr. Robert Needlman twenty-five years ago, which gives out new books at children’s checkups to promote reading to their young patients, and encouraging parents to read to them.
Now, over 20,000 medical providers engage in the program, giving out prescriptions for reading with health advice.
Did my blood ever rush! And in that moment, I found Bliss.
Reading is the gateway to the Universe. It opens worlds. It asks questions. It answers everything from what is my potential to why am I so unhappy. And always, always, reading assures us: I am not alone.
We know that children who are read to (from the earliest ages, but at least starting at six months) have higher language-development skills, which is a critical predictor of school success. Wow, it’s that easy.
And the benefits just continue from there—in logarithmic progressions.
Even today, nothing soothes my soul as deeply as sitting with a great book. Beit a perfect novel, a work of self-help, a spiritual text—all feed my soul.
A world without books would be one I would step off of . . .
And back to Dr. Boone. She practices in the inner city, giving hope to God alone knows how many families. She treats, as she says, “body, mind and soul. Reading is just as important as immunizations, it’s making sure that the brain develops and teaches parents to interact with their children because that develops language.”
She smiles and says, “It all starts with a book.”
The kids she’s treated are going to college in huge numbers.
And her own story?
A product of a teenage pregnancy, she was raised by a foster mother on a small farm, without even running water. But, they had books.
“Even though we were poor,” Dr. Boone said, “I could travel all over the world. I could be anyone. I could be the Queen of England if I wanted to be . . . in a book.”
She became a doctor, and dedicated her life to low-income families. “I think,” she said, “I am the American Dream.”
Indeed. Indeed, she is.
And it all started with a book . . .
How often have you been transported through the universe by a book?