I was a lucky one. I can't even remember being taught how to read, as far as I can recall, it was something that I could 'just' always do. It was and still is the most ultimate of all experiences. I am positive that I do not have to go into detail about the virtues of reading, I would be preaching to the converted.
Today I don't want you to get all worked up about how good reading is, I want you to recognise all the opportunities that reading has afforded you, and then imagine your life without them.
That is the life that so many children I work with will have. They just can't read. I was examining the data for the year level I am in charge of, they are year 7, and some of them have a reading age of a six year old. In fact, an awful lot of them have a reading age of a six year old.
Often when 'society' finds out that teenagers can't read, the blame session starts. Maybe the parents should have read more books ... why didn't anyone notice before? ... surely someone has done something about this before now, and so the cycle continues.
It is a parent's responsibility. It is a teacher's responsibility. It is also a 'village' responsibility. We have to show that we value reading, we have to exchange gifts of reading, and thus increase readings value. We have to do it together - one child at a time - one book at a time.