To Kindle or to Book? Having bid farewell to our lucky group of Jasper skiers on Wednesday with their enormous, colourful suitcases, I wonder how many of them deliberated, as I do, about how to balance my love of a real book with the realities of limited packing space when going away?
Research that has been replicated over and over again suggests that we should be packing as many books as we can into our holiday suitcases but also into our daily routine. The average person reads four books a year. In the USA this falls to one. Should this matter in this day of mass communication?
Whilst our girls may not all want to be great leaders, one of our jobs as pioneers in girls’ education, is to ensure that this remains an option open to them. And all great leaders have one thing in common. Pleasingly this has nothing to do with any accident of birth, schooling or opportunities in university or beyond. The common denominator is that great leaders are reliably voracious readers: CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read on average four to five books a month.
This should come as no surprise to teachers. As passionate advocates of life-long learning, we model what we say. Self-improvement, the acquisition of new knowledge and skill sets should not be confined to the classroom. Much can be gained from hands on experience, but so much more from reading and learning in the process.
So to my half term challenge. The value of reading widely and voraciously is well documented. What can we do as parents to engrain this habit in our children? We are all too intently aware of the distractions and quick wins provided by mobile phones. Do not discount how much reading and learning can be accessed through our devices but, a little like ensuring that we do not lose the skill of handwriting by only ever touch typing, we can model the importance of reading by sitting down as a family every day in the coming week for dedicated book reading time.
The real challenge will be maintaining this wonderful habit once we return to the routine of term time. If Michelangelo could comment that he was ‘still learning’ at the age of 87 then I think we too can aspire to say ‘ancora imparo’ through family reading.
Mrs Kate Reynolds