This is one of those statements that I have shared with many people who desire to be leaders, yet few of them actually discipline themselves to learn to read and apply it to their lives. It seems to me that the problem is not that they can’t read, (though I read recently that there are 7 million working aged Australians who are functionally illiterate) it is just that they have never learned to enjoy reading! The fact is, as parents we have the power to make reading fun, or to send a subliminal message that says it is just something that we have to do at school or work that is a necessary evil!
My observation is that we start sending that message very early in a child’s life, and long before they can really understand what we are reading to them. By the time they are two years old, we have already set the scene to teach them if this is business or pleasure on our part! If we enjoy reading, put ourselves into sharing that joy with our children, and take them on an exciting journey with us, they will grow to share that joy.
Obviously you will need to choose books that are age appropriate, but we found that as our children grew and younger siblings were added, that it was the fun of the exercise and the intimate sharing that became more important. The trick is to recognise when to revisit old favourites, and when to move on to new material, making sure that at least the majority are enjoying it. Your job as the reader is to make sure that the right balance is found.
So, if you want to be a leader and grow leaders, start by learning to enjoy reading, and then let that passion infect your children.