Friday, April 17, 2009

Silent Reading

It's official. I am now on Twitter. I don't quite know what to do with it yet but it got me thinking about all the things there are to read now. Between my ever growing list of blogs, newsletter updates, Facebook, Linkedin, The New York Times(I confess. I like that best when I can feel the newsprint on my hands) and now, Twitter, there is alot to distract me.

Of course, I am a reader. I always have been. I am one of those people who believes information is power and the best way to get that is by reading. If you can read, you can do anything.

So I like having lots to read.

But what about that old concept of reading with no purpose and no interaction. Just reading for the sake of reading. I think that was the idea behind silent reading when you were in a kid in school.

Remember that designated time of the day when everyone shut everything off and just read for twenty minutes. Not for work or for necessity, or to respond to an email or a blog, but just for fun. Everyone. Students, teachers, the principal’s secretary.

Twenty minutes of uninterrupted silence.

I wonder what would happen if we worked silent reading into the economic stimulus plan. What if for even fifteen minutes every day, the country just paused and got quiet with something to read that was not an email, text message or twitter and required no outside interaction. What if we all just sat with our favorite section of the paper, or that article in the magazine you get every month but barely have time to scan, or here’s a stretch, the novel that you just have not been able to get to. Just sat and read and learned something. No multi-tasking allowed.

The only sound would be that of pages turning.

I always heard a lot in the quiet of that silent reading time. Ideas being hatched. Dreams created. Possibilities being sketched out. A new perspective opened. It was that great pause that refreshes, except no one was drinking a Coca Cola.

I wonder what would happen if that was written that into the plan. How much good might be created?
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