These days there are many things that we are missing. The pandemic has caused either the cancellation or the alteration of many of the things that we enjoy participating in. Even as restrictions are being loosened again, there are still some activities that are not yet fully permitted. So those things that remain largely untouched by the pandemic are quick to be celebrated.
The annual celebration held in February called “I Love to Read Month” is very much in full swing despite all of the changes that are happening around us. Reading is one of the things that, while not pandemic proof as public libraries have been impacted, remains largely unimpacted as an individual activity. The benefits that are derived from it are, as well, more important than ever.
Much of the focus of I Love to Read Month are the learning benefits of reading. And these benefits are both well documented and well known. As one of the foundational elements to learning, high performance readers naturally are better positioned for a lifetime of learning. As well, those who develop a love of reading open a natural path to continued learning. What is not always as well noted are the psychological benefits of reading. Many studies have shown how reading can reduce stress and bring a sense of calm to the reader. In all times, but especially in these times, that is an important benefit to the simple act of reading a book.
The theme of this year’s I Love to Read Month is “Joyful Reading in a New World” which encourages readers to try new book formats. Reading through any means, whether through an electronic format or through traditional books, is beneficial to readers of every age. Schools throughout Manitoba have planned for special activities to challenge students to increase their level and their love of reading. This year, as in years past, I will be donating books to local school libraries during this month. School librarians have again been very helpful in providing a list of books that will benefit their libraries and students. In the past, I have enjoyed visiting the classrooms and at times reading to students. Given current health protocols, I will not be able to participate in the same way this year but am still very much looking forward to delivering books to local schools.
I Love to Read Month is a special time in our local schools and libraries. While this year is different in so many ways, the joy and benefit of reading has not changed, and it remains an activity which is as important as ever. Thank you to all the educators who are organizing special activities and to all the parents who make it a special month by participating in reading with their children.