The most important activity for young people is reading. Hence, a young person should never be too busy to read and every summer should present an opportunity to read regularly — on top of doing all your class readings throughout school.
Some of the most important statistics from the National Institute for Literacy, National Center for Adult Literacy, The Literacy Company, and U.S. Census Bureau underscore the critical need to address illiteracy in the United States:
- Currently, 45 million Americans are functionally illiterate and cannot read above a fifth-grade level.
- 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level.
- 1/3 of fourth-graders reach the proficient reading level.
- 25% of students in California school systems are able to perform basic reading skills.
- 85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading.
- 3 out of 5 people in American prisons can’t read.
- 3 out of 4 people on welfare can’t read.
Parents and/or guardians should read aloud to your young kids regularly. Books should be given as gifts when the kids are young so that they associate the love of their parent/s or guardian/s with learning and scholarship. Libraries should be places that children are brought to regularly by their parent/s or guardian/s. Each child should have at least one bookcase with books in his/her room and there should be one (or more) in the living room as well.
Families that emphasize reading and scholarship tend to have better overall outcomes with regards to personal and professional success.
Sitting quietly in a room to read can be a paramount factor towards being able to have a bright future (and the upsides greatly outweigh the downsides).
There is a reason that many of our billionaire philanthropists like Warren Buffett are voracious readers (he has expressed that he reads 3-4 hours per day even now); it is indeed a crucial skillset to possess in life.
I have a friend named Mario who I met in Albania. He doesn’t have much materially in his life, yet he works hard and he wants very much to immigrate to the USA one day. He told me one thing that I’ll never forget: “An expert oftentimes spends 10+ years learning about a particular field before he/she writes a book sharing most of his/her nuggets of knowledge and wisdom in it; the reader gleans much of the book’s insights from reading the entire book in a single weekend.”
You can choose what you read: literary fiction, genre fiction, non-fiction, memoir, etc. Or you can read broadly across myriad genres.
Also remember that someone who can read, but who chooses NOT to read suffers from the same disadvantages as someone who can’t read.
Reading articles on the internet is fine for an average person. Yet do you really want to be average? Read DEEPLY. Read on your Kindle. Read actual books. Just READ. And through the act of regular reading, you will learn and grow tremendously.