How important do you think reading quality books and articles is to your child’s education, character, and critical thinking skills? As I study some of the greatest minds in history, a recurring theme seems to be they were voracious readers.
Here is an excerpt about Abraham Lincoln who had very little formal childhood education. It amounted to about one year of schooling.
“Abe received most of his education from the books he read. As he grew up, he became fascinated with books. He loved to read every minute of his spare time. When he went out to plow a field, he put a book under his shirt and read at the end of rows when the horses were resting.
His best friend, Dennis Hanks, said, “I never saw Abe after he was 12, that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket. It just didn’t seem natural to see a guy read like that.”
Books were scarce in the backwoods, and each book he got was precious. The Lincolns did not have any books and Abe was forced to borrow. He was willing to walk miles to get a book that he might read over and over.
Abe read everything he could get his hands on and once told his family, “My best friend is the man who will give me a book I haven’t read.”
He read the Bible several times and other books such as Pilgrim’s Progress and Aesop’s Fables. His favorite book had a very long title: The Life of George Washington, With Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honorable To Himself and Exemplary To His Young Countrymen. He tucked the book into a corner of the loft. During one night, rain from a big storm stained the cover of the book. To pay for the damage, Abe spent three days harvesting corn for the farmer from whom he borrowed it. George Washington later became one of Lincoln’s heroes. One time, Abe walked twenty miles to borrow a book about the United States. In fact, he loved reading so much, he even read a spelling book. He used school books such as Murray’s English Reader and Pike’s Arithmetic.”
As much of the world is schooling at home through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to realize that education doesn’t have to be complicated. Many of history’s greatest minds positively impacted the world because of what they learned through their voracious appetite for books. I encourage you to keep a steady diet of books available for your kids. Read aloud to them–even those in their pre-teens and teens. Give them quiet time to soak into books.
We really enjoyed the Newbery-medal winning biography, Lincoln: A Photobiography, by Russell Freeman.
A fun Lincoln book about his early years is Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln by Judith St. George.
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