Thursday

10 Great Reasons to Read


Islamic children's books from my home library
Years ago when I first became a librarian, I was convinced that I could make anyone into a reader and a lover of books. I discovered not long after that such a task was not a simple. Reading for pleasure comes from creating bonds between readers and books. How was I to go about doing this? Sometimes, it was a matter of pairing a person with the right kind of book (maybe a mystery or a biography or comics). Other times, it was about encouraging parents and teachers to read to children from a very early age. Movies, crafts and games drew students to the library where I worked. But when all else failed I would whip out my list of 10 Great Reasons to Read; a list I’ve compiled and refined over the years. If nothing else would convince anyone to read, this list did (well, almost always!).





10 Great Reasons to Read


  1. A Command – The Qur’an, the best book and guidance, begins with the word “Read”. “Read! In the name of your Lord who created” - Qur’an (14: 24)
  2. Learn the Deen – Read the Qur’an, read the Hadith and then read some more. Reading is critical to obtaining knowledge about Islam. With knowledge we can become better people not to mention be the best Muslim we can be.  There are many excellent Islamic books in a variety of languages available on the market today. "Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky?” - Qur’an (14: 24)
  3. Together Time – Reading brings families together. What better way than to spend time together by reading and talking about what we read with our loved ones (you can even think of starting a Family Book Club). For those who are parents, reading together creates “warm connections.” Holding the very young in your lap, sitting snugly with an older child on the sofa, or just sitting on the corner of the bed reading aloud can be a warm and loving experience. A child feels happy and secure having his/her parent’s time and attention (a Parent-Child Book Club is a good idea especially with teenagers)."Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." - Emilie Buchwald
  4. Exercise for the Mind – Your brain is a muscle. It needs exercise to keep in shape. To keep your mind alert and stimulated try reading a variety of material from magazines to comics, novels to short stories. For children, reading and listening to stories will help learn to concentrate and develop their attention span.“Reading to the Mind is what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison
  5. Inspires Creativity, Imagination and New Ideas – From decorating ideas and fashion to foods and drinks to writing and art, reading gives you that spark to try new things or create your own masterpiece! Children’s imagination grow when they read. "T.V. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they’ll have with twenty-six. Open your child’s imagination. Open a book.” - Anonymous
  6. Makes you Think and Contemplate Reading makes you aware of your place in this world and what you can do. It inspires you to seek the truth and make positive changes. "The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive." - The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  7. Explore the World Past, Present and Future. Visit places, meet people and experience cultures from around the world by reading novels, travel guides, travel blogs, biographies and historical fiction. Learn about past generations of Muslims, about Muslims in other lands and more.“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr. Seuss
  8. Word Power – Reading helps build your vocabulary. With a variety of words we can express ourselves better; whether it is in our writing or in dialogue with others. “We cannot always control our thoughts, but we can control our words.” - Florence S. Shinn
  9. Builds Self-Identity and Confidence – When we read books we encounter people like ourselves who are in situations similar to what we are in. When children for example, see themselves in the books they read it helps to build their self-identity. This is especially true for Muslims living in countries where they are the minority. "When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” - Maya Angelou
  10. Just Fun – Yes, reading is fun and great entertainment! Whatever you read can make you laugh out loud, simmer in anger or weep your eyes out! Whether you prefer the traditional paper bound book or an e-reader (e.g. Kindle or Nook reader) you can take your book with you wherever you go – no more boring commutes, long waiting etc. Relax and de-stress by escaping within the pages of a good book.

Saara is a librarian turned stay-at-home mom who blogs about books and media for Muslim children and teenagers at Ummah Reads. Her blogs also includes articles on promoting literacy and interviews with Muslim authors.