If you are a sports fan you might remember the Oakland Raiders Al Davis quote that he used with his team: “Just Win Baby” or perhaps a version that I recall that may not even be accurate, “Win Baby Win.” I don’t think you’ll get too many arguments about just how anxious and determined Davis was to win. Vince Lombardi had his own special quote, “Winning is everything.”  Lombardi was not always pleased with the way this quote was interpreted. He certainly drove his players to be their best, but God and family had a bigger place in Lombardi’s heart.

As a publisher and a father, I like to suggest to young people how important it is to read–“just read, baby, read” or maybe something like “reading is everything.”

When I was young, reading was a chore. Eventually, it became a habit and finally a passion. One of my best teachers used to love reading out loud.  She read a wide variety of things to our class, everything from Shakespeare to James Baldwin.  I often think of young people who have difficulty making reading come alive on the page and I often think they should listen to books to get started. I got into a habit of listening to books in car on my former very long commute and then coming home and continuing with a book in print for my “late night reading.”

At Sporting Chance Press, we mostly publish books on Sports and Faith. Many young people get their ideas from headlines online or media buzz from the apps they use. I suspect it is a horrible way to stay informed or uninformed, but aversion to books is not new. Many adults were not good readers in the previous century and even in the computer age when most books can be so accessible, they are no better.

If you do have a child who struggles to read, don’t give up. If your child is young, find something of interest in audio and take a drive some time giving the story enough time to unfold. It could make a difference. Once “hooked” you can provide tapes and eventually they should learn to love reading itself.

If you have very young children, read books to them.  If you read enough books, you will find some are especially appealing and fun. Your kids may want you to read them over and over again. Spend enough time to do it right. Make the sacrifice. Don’t just read when they are 5 minutes from falling asleep.  As they get older ask them to read a few lines. Make sure they remain readers.  It takes time and sacrifice from you, do a good job and try to make it interesting–make sure it is a positive experience–don’t be the grumpy mom or dad who lets the child know they have “better things to do.”

Just read baby, read.