OPINION: Our future depends on kids reading

AS AN aunty I can be a bit inconsistent about a couple of things.

Birthday parties, for example. I've missed a few too many for my liking. Dance concerts, too.

But about books, I'm dependable. Relentless even.

I am always asking my nephew and nieces what they're reading, and I jump at the chance to whip out a few of my (terrible) accents to read them a bedtime story.

I'm incessantly buying them books, too.

Never have I spent money with fewer regrets, because I believe in reading - not just in its power to transport, but in its power to transform.

So I was delighted to hear about National Simultaneous Storytime taking place right here in the South Burnett this week.

Now in its 19th year, it is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy to primary school students.

Reading to kids and encouraging them to read themselves not only has clear cognitive benefits, but it also strengthens children's social, emotional and character development.

People who read are more adept at reading people, and they're more empathetic too.

I know, I know. This sounds self-serving. A professional writer arguing the importance of reading.

That's not how I'm looking at this.

I'm looking at this as someone who is whole- heartedly persuaded that reading does things to the brain, heart and spirit that movies, television and video games cannot.

Books are personal, passionate.

They stir emotions and spark thoughts in a manner entirely on their own.

And I'm convinced our world has a lot less hope of a bright future if reading doesn't continue to be a part of it.