As a kid, I read a lot.
So this makes reading important to me. Everything from escape-artist hamsters, vampire bunnies, turtles with drawers in their chests and people who lived in dreams. My scope of reading was pretty wide, but words painted things better than any movie could on TV.
Makes me think of the re-worked Star Wars series and how things were put in as they were 'supposed to be' because we didn't have the technology to do it yet. Makes George Lucas a visionary.
But I digress. I was reading Piers Anthony in the fourth grade. Jack L. Chalker's series of Flux and Anchor during the fifth grade, and in the summer going on to sixth, I read Stephen King's "IT" (and that was four sleepless nights as a child). Maybe I shouldn't have been reading so much of that so young, but really, I don't think my parents paid much attention to the content of the books that I was reading. They were just happy I was reading.
And I read voraciously. I still do. It is not uncommon for me to put away a paperback in four hours. But... the reading now is recreational. It's much more difficult to read something technical or history-related (snore). Not that I shouldn't, I just can't stay awake.
Regardless, all this reading built my vocabulary. I think that the way I write was hammered out by countless writers, some famous and some unknown. It is extensive, and I try to go through a lot of thought when communicating what's going on inside my head.
I see this now in my children.
Most people through the years have commented on the vocabulary of my children. They use words and phrases that are beyond their years and in their school, they have been recognized by their schools for their reading abilities (they actually brought home trophies last year).
So yes, there is a lot you SHOULD read, but reading anything is going to expand your mind. Reading actually helps you communicate, so whether it's the paper (which is supposed to be on a third grade reading level, I believe) or some short piece of fiction, continue reading.
People say to me, "I'm just not a reader."
My reply? "Well, it's not that you're not a reader. You just haven't found books with subjects you're interested in." Because we're all interested in something. Why not learn more about it through reading? Kill two birds at once.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.