How do “A Reading People become a Great People”?
Ruth J. Smith
In the sermon at church yesterday, the Pastor used Philippians 4:7-8 as the text for his message. His message reminded me and inspired me of the importance of reading, first the Word of God and then other good writings.
As I considered this topic many questions came to mind:
- Why is it so important that Christians be a reading people?
- How does reading have an effect in a nation?
- How do I choose what to read?
- How do I teach someone to read?
There are probably more questions which could be added to this list, but these are a place of beginning.
Why is it so important that Christians be a reading people?
God, in His great wisdom, saw fit to give us the written word as a means of knowing His mind concerning all areas of life and living. How can I know God’s plan unless I read His word? The Bible contains the answer for every aspect and challenge of life – we simply need to learn to search the Scriptures to find those answers. My brother, Dr. Glen Jaspers, preaches a great message on “The Bible, God’s Mind Concerning Everything”. I would highly recommend this message to challenge your thinking.
How does reading have an effect in a nation?
“A reading people will soon become a thinking people and a thinking people must soon become a great people.”[i]
This always reminds me of the importance of reading. As we watch current events unfold in our nation, we often see those individuals who are not thinking for themselves but assuming an attitude or position based upon what someone else has reasoned. A thinking people will read and reason for themselves and, if they are reasoning from the Scripture and from accurate historical writings, their conclusions will be those that will restore and preserve the Biblical foundations of our nation.
How do I choose what to read?
Many different sources are available which include suggested books for individuals of different ages. Two lists which I like to use personally and recommend to others are A Family Program for Reading Aloud by Rosalie Slater. This volume includes suggestions for all ages and you are assured that the recommended books will meet the standard of Philippians 4:8, that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and virtuous. The other list, also written by Rosalie Slater, is in James Rose’s, A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School: The Principle Approach. The section on literature begins on page 327, and offers many wonderful suggestions.
My grandchildren know that they can anticipate receiving a book for birthdays and Christmas each year. This is a wonderful opportunity to add to their library.
How do I teach someone to read?
If we desire to have our children and grandchildren read, they must be taught to become independent readers. There are many good phonics programs available. I highly recommend the method by which my children and grandchildren learned to read – originally this was the Little Patriot Series, but it is now offered as the American Language series. “Phonetic principles and concepts presented in this quality learn-to-read program allow students to learn quickly how to read any book.”
I have seen the outstanding fruit of this phonics program in producing great readers. One of the standards which I particularly like is that by the end of the Kindergarten level, the child is equipped to read from the Bible. This doesn’t need to be a simplified version of the Scripture, but can be an adult version – we recommend the King James Version, as it reflects English at the peak of the language, identifying the language of liberty.
[i] Reverend S. Phillips, The Christian Home as it is in the Sphere of Nature and the Church . ., 1861 in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle Approach (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1965), page 21.