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Literacy advocates were encouraged last week to remember the pleasure you can get from reading and to spread that joy with others.
Dr. Linda Gambrell, president of the International Reading Association, was the guest speaker during a special luncheon on Thursday afternoon sponsored by the J. Marion Sims Foundation.
The event, dubbed For the Love of Reading, was held at the multipurpose room of the Bradley Building at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.
Gambrell, who's written several books about education and literacy, talked about the advantages of reading. She said people must develop the habit of frequent reading and to find the type of literature that brings you pleasure.
"Fifty percent of our population reads one book per year," Gambrell said, referring to national studies. "The importance of reading for pleasure is one thing we should not underestimate."
Gambrell spoke about her own passion for reading, reflecting on how she wished she had more time to set aside for reading. She advised the crowd to take advantage of every chance to do so.
"I have to confess I used to read during my son's football games," Gambrell said, with a laugh.
She encouraged those on hand to discuss books more often and pass on a novel to someone else when you're done with it. Don't just leave it on your book shelf to collect dust, she said.
"I think we ought to promote reading in every way and every opportunity," Gambrell said. "We need to share our reading rituals with our children, our students and our colleagues."
Johnnie Mae Patterson, a literacy coach with the Children's Council, said she'll try to get people she mentors to discover what type of books bring them pleasure.
"That's what I think I'm going to do with the young ladies I work with - get them to read for pleasure," Patterson said. "Reading is knowledge and reading can be powerful."
Toward the end of the program, Lancaster City Administrator Helen Sowell presented the foundation with a resolution from the city, declaring Feb. 28 as International Reading Day.
"Reading forms the basis for everything," said Jim Morton, president of the J. Marion Sims Foundation, which provides funding for about 15 literacy programs that serve Lancaster County, Great Falls or Fort Lawn. "It's what allows people to realize their full potential."
More on Gambrell
Gambrell is a professor of education at Clemson University. Her research on education has appeared in publications such as Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Educational Psychologist and the Journal of Educational Research.
She has served as president of the National Reading Conference and the College Reading Association.
In 2004, she was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame.
Contact Jesef Williams at 283-1152 or firstname.lastname@example.org