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May 1, 2017

The Privilege of Reading --- Guest Post by Teen Board Member Caitlyn K.

Posted by Rebecca M

Normally, I am never short of ideas. I always have them, sometimes too much, and I can’t stop thinking about them. But when I went to write a blog post, my brain was entirely empty. So I decided to read through the Teenreads blog to find a little inspiration, but nothing was coming to me. Then one day I was talking to my dad when the conversation led (as it tends to do when I am one of the participants) to books. I was thinking of the seemingly endless pile of books I had that I wanted to read (I think most of us can relate to that!), when I realized not everyone has access to a library. Then the thought developed: not everyone has access to books at all or even school. Then the full thought hit me. Not everyone can read.

When I really considered this, I realized the privilege I have that I just take for granted. I’m assuming you have never thought of your ability to read in this way, so I’ll give you an idea of how important it is. As you go through your daily routine, how many times do you read something? Maybe it is the label on your cereal box, or perhaps on a street sign you pass on the way to school or work. In almost every aspect of your life, reading is somehow involved. To some, this isn’t the reality --- or even a possibility.

With the world developing as it is, there are millions of ways to advance. There are so many career options open for me that every time someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up, my head spins with the possibilities. But all of these opportunities stem from the basic assumption that you can read. I mean, sure, someone who doesn’t know how to read is not hopeless, but being able to gives you an advantage that others just don’t have.

I have always loved to read, and I devoured books from the second I knew how. I remember being in my early elementary school days and reading with some of the older kids. The girl I was reading with stared at my book in shock and exclaimed to her friend that I was reading a book some kids in her class couldn’t. Reading is a way for me to escape the real world, or to find a better one. By reading, we can experience the world in a way impossible to do otherwise. Not only do I love to do it, reading connects people in a way unlike another. I have so many friends that I have met through a shared love for the written language, a fondness for specific characters, or allegiances to certain houses (let’s hear it for the Ravenclaws!). Reading is more than just an ability. It is a way of living.

We must never forget that reading is a privilege that we should never stop appreciating. We muyst also take advantage of the position of privilege we are in. In other words, use your capabilities to learn more, to write more, to share more, to experience more and, above all, to help more.

If, in an incredibly odd series of events, you just learned to read, and happened upon a humble blog on the vast internet, you are probably in need of some quality reading material. I’m afraid I can’t help with other languages and assuming you have a large enough command over the English language, I have a couple suggestions of your first reads:

  • Of course, I have to suggest Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, where you can experience magic in a whole new way.
  • To get a look at some more philosophical reading that will tug on your heart strings, then read TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE by Mitch Albom.
  • You must experience some mystery through THE ADVENTURE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • You can dive the elaborate fantasy worlds of Rick Riordan’s mythological tales, or anything by Cassandra Clare and I promise you will not be disappointed.
  • Finally, if you seek a more professional opinion, the expert advice of my English teacher that I definitely agree with is THE HOBBIT by J. R. R. Tolkein.

Now go enjoy the magical power that you have in reading!