Note: this post is about the problem I personally have with aliteracy; and if you are currently aliterate, steps you can take to change that, if you'd like. If you or someone you know struggles with direct or indirect effects of illiteracy (functional or not), there are places that can help. One of my favorites is the website for the Florida Literacy Coalition, which is full of resources on the subject.
I’ve heard and read about proud non-readers before, but my social media feeds lately have been full of people who say things like, “So glad this became a movie because I don’t read” and “if anyone gets me an E-Reader for Christmas I’m throwing it away” and various other ways to inform the world that this person dislikes written communication. People who have the means and opportunity to read, and yet proudly say that they don't. Not like I actually care, but I originally wrote this post at 4 AM on a Friday morning because I couldn’t sleep because of People Like You.
I’m here to tell you: it’s most definitely not your fault that the word “reading” gets you so apathetic. Chances are you, like me, were told outright that you needed to take standardized tests because if you were sick that day the class wouldn't get enough money. Or maybe you went to a school where bodies in the seats weren't considered currency, but regardless your literacy was treated as a means to an end, rather than the gift to yourself that it is.
You were wronged; it's okay to be mad about it. But reading has so many personal benefits and the only person who is missing out by not reading is you.
I once was like you. It’s true. Me. The librarian and educator who literally went to school for reading, twice, and once to obtain a reading-related job. I went to undergrad for English because I wanted to make sure I didn't drop out, and I enjoyed reading books. By the time I graduated with honors in 2004, I HATED READING BOOKS. Freaking hated it. Though I still believed in the importance of reading (which is why I went back to school to get my literacy development Master’s degree) I personally did not pick up a book I hadn't read before for leisure between the years of 2004-2010. Reading felt like a chore, and I couldn't fully enjoy stories because I got hung up with stuff like “word choice”. My biggest pet peeve when reading is still when an author rediscovers a word and then uses it three times in one chapter. It took me awhile, but I got over it in favor of trying to really lose myself in a story.