What is the use of reading? It may sound like a pretty pragmatic question. That is why I want to share, from my personal experience, five reasons why it is worth reading. I invite you to talk about reading beyond its role in learning, of being a supposed transmitter of values or a tool to have better skills in this world of disagreements. Better I will speak of reading as one that produces a physical and psychological shudder quite similar to happiness.
Reading gives me calm
Reading is a break from the hectic pace of daily life. It is, without a doubt, an activity that requires calm, one that sometimes we pursue at lunch or before bed, looking insistently at the cell phone and social networks as if in search of something unexpected that takes us out of the routine and in the end we go to bed tired and half empty of humanity, of meaning. We use the most incredible devices that technology has created for matters that do not fill us and we forget that for our fortune there are also books, in the form of apps, digital books and other formats that capture that emotion of striving to know something that we love and that requires more than 140 letters to satisfy us.
Adults with children and overwork know what calm is worth, which means meeting with themselves at some point in the day and being moved, angry or laughing out loud at the deepest or most trivial issues in life and that they meet with great effectiveness on the books. What is the use of reading? To find well-being.
Reading is reading, even when it seems not to read
I could almost assure you that the first encounter of the children of my generation with literature was not exactly through books. It will be a commonplace to say that a few years ago, we dislodged with little pain from our beds on weekends in search of the animated adaptations of the Brothers Grimm, or the fantastic narratives of "The Storyteller" and not because television in we liked ourselves, but because these particular stories had something inexplicable, an unsettling personal, almost private feeling, as if we were telling ourselves about our dreams in real life or a possible one. That magic is achieved by literature, the good one, the one that shakes the hearts of those who are close to it no matter the format in which it is presented.
It will be very strange to talk about television, its arch enemy, in a text about reading, but we will have to pause in this long dispute and recognize how this medium, many of us, allowed us to reach other texts that managed to recover that kind of paradise that over time we lost between the toils of the day and the indiscriminate consumption of entertainment. Valuing the printed format above the others is a limitation today where many have devices that can store thousands of books and that allow greater access. What is the use of reading? To know how to find literature, poetry wherever we go.
Reading sets me free
Rodari He said: “The total use of the word for everyone seems to me a good motto, with a beautiful democratic sound. Not so that everyone is an artist, but so that no one is a slave ”and I think Rodari was right, that he had found the little pea that hurt the princess of the classic tale under the mattresses, when he said these libertarian words, because he recognized how uncomfortable which can be reading and writing in a world that restricts, that it does not suit him that you think and say a lot and that he is also determined that you never have time.
In this overwhelming reality, literature for children or for adults (I prefer to think that there is no such literature for children but rather quality literature or not) turns out to be a way of loosening ourselves from chains, of seeing the world through the eyes of many people. , to leave the reality that has been prefabricated for us and enter the intimacy of others in order to draw our own conclusions. Ana María Machado, an admired author of children's books, said that the only solution to avoid alienation, the only story that ideology creates - referring to the one present in books - was diversity, the possibility of seeing many perspectives of the world and I would like to transfer that idea not only to books but to life in general. When we know more edges of a problem, when we know the causes and not only the effects, we are bolder, deeper and more critical. What is the use of reading? To think freely.
Reading connects me with others and with the world
Reading I have seen more critical children grow up in libraries, schools, public spaces and homes, with more capacity for wonder and with better tools to live in this difficult world that we build. Children who hurt more for the other, who know the world more, who are more clear about their participation as citizens and as brothers, because through books they built their subjectivity, a personality full of voices and experiences than with words and images they filled their world with cultural references, emotions and realities that made them more human, happier. Some time ago I heard that there is no safer place than a book and despite all the counterarguments that occur to me at the time, I could assure you that yes, there would be no safer place to learn about death, about sexuality , of love, war and friendship than a story that happens to another, but that happens inside us, when we identify ourselves, when we put ourselves in the shoes of the other and fill ourselves with ideas and words to face what we know and what not yet. What is the use of reading? To recognize myself and others.
What is the use of reading? To be happier
Happiness is sometimes sold in bottles, trips, objects, or diplomas, but sometimes happiness is given by reading aloud from a public library; in family spaces such as the Globo Restaurant - workshop where books inspire the shape of food or family reading workshops are held and in many other settings for the ideas that books mobilize. In the smile of children when they are moved by an image, a phrase or an action of a character, when reading is not only about me but about the affection that I give to a little one. All that remains is to find the time to accompany the children to find the books in a less directed way –school- and more organic, such as at the bus stop, a restaurant, the park. That children see their parents read and talk about what they read at dinner, we are sure, is more effective than language classes.
That happiness does not become a silly excuse to justify the need to read more in a country that lacks reading tests and other measures of the impossible. Visit the libraries, read as a family, give a birthday book, read yourself and then worry about your child reading - like in airplanes, you must first put on the oxygen mask to help others. - Happiness exists and it exists in opposition to sadness. It is paradoxical how we identify the second so effectively and the first slips from our hands from time to time. Don't let her go.