Let me start this post by saying I am a book worm. When we first married, my husband was shocked to find out how much time I spent reading. One of my favorite ways to spend an evening out is browsing at Barnes and Noble. I am almost always reading something. If I don't have a book or magazine nearby, I'll read a cereal box label.
My husband, on the other hand, rarely picks up a magazine and reads 2-4 books per year on average. Last year, he read two books that were assigned to the church by our pastor, a short book about grief and the biography Cooked . For the past 2 months, he's been working on the book called Becoming a Millionaire God's Way. I'm thinking, "Finish it, already!"
When we first married, I was shocked to find out how little time my husband spends reading. He would rather spend his free time watching football or playing golf.
I think it's safe to say reading is important. Every adult in this country should be able to read signs, warnings, instructions, contracts, magazines, books, etc. However, I think some of us are under the impression that every child must love reading and have a taste for great literature. I see this quite a bit with people who are making themselves miserable by using literature-based programs that their children hate.
While I absolutely love programs like Sonlight and Winter Promise, I think it is sad that some parents force these programs on children when they're not a good fit. Even the publishers themselves will admit that literature-rich programs are not right for every family.
As a bookworm, I obviously don't think reading is something to be discouraged. I just don't think we have to turn kids who don't love reading into kids who love classic literature.
Children are individuals who will have their own likes and dislikes. Once we are sure they can read well, comprehend what they are reading and apply what they've read to real life, I think it is okay to let them decide how much or little they read in their free time. In the book, How Children Learn, John Holt tells story of child who loved to build and learned how to read on a college level by reading instructions.
Is reading overrated? In some instances - yes. By all means, I don't think we should replace reading with extra Wii or TV time, but reading is not the only productive activity available. There are times I will tell my oldest (a bookworm) to stop reading and *gasp* go do some chores.