"Read in order to live."
I read an article about a man who grew up not knowing how to read (he eventually learned & went on to become a successful speaker & writer, hoorah!) & I almost glossed over it; a child grows up in poverty, is dismissed through class/race/social structures, of course he couldn't be expected to read -- nothing new here.
But then I thought about it again, about how incomprehensible surviving illiteracy is to me. You see, reading is a fundamental fact of my existence. How are there people in this world who live without words?
It is one of the greatest tragedies of our global society we'd find it acceptable to maintain such high levels of illiteracy.
In the article, the author had a teacher who shamed him for his lack of ability & when he encountered this teacher as an adult, he implored him to teach the next generation how to read instead of belittling them for it. It's not an innate skill our bodies involuntarily do; our eyes don't absorb words the way our lungs ventilate oxygen.
To make this world better, we need readers. We need the idea drinkers, the thought producers, the word lovers.