Dear Granada Family,
Assalāmu ‘Alaykum, and welcome to the month of October. One of the main activities this month at Granada will be our GIS Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) sponsored annual Read-a-Thon. This event is dual purposed: to raise money for the school as well as promote reading; and in this letter, I want to concentrate on the latter -- the importance of reading.
All of us know that the first words ever revealed by Allah (swt) to Prophet Mohammed (s) were, “Read (iqra) in the name of your lord who creates...” The profound impact of the word that begins Quranic revelation and subsequently the communication of Allah to mankind cannot go unnoticed. Allah could have begun his communique to mankind with his blessed name and the command to follow him, instead he reveals a keystone tool that helps man in his search for truth.
The implied message Allah sent that day echoes for as long as mankind is to stay on earth: God will not impose belief of himself through force or any coercive technique, but the quest to find and understand Allah and his essence will be through arguably the best gift he has given us: our ability to read and subsequently write and thus comprehend through our intellect (aql). Amazingly, from this very ayah stems the very linear process on how to learn and grow not just religiously, but spiritually, and intellectually. When given the ability to search, the discovery of knowledge becomes a journey like no other; and when the treasure is found, man will value it beyond any quantifiable measure.
Last year GIS took on the importance and what the value reading represents through our theme last year: Functional Literacy. As an educational institution, which understands the concepts of learning through the process of scaffolding, these themes serve as building blocks as well as the seeds of academic and personal growth. Thus we want to promote reading as an activity not done simply to pass examinations, but focus on the journey that reading takes us on.
Whether it be love of fiction or nonfiction, the act of reading embeds within the child the tools with which she/he can critique and understand a very complex world. With these tools sharpened, the child develops the ability to discern between right and wrong, as well as truth and falsehood. Granada takes this responsibility very seriously, and aims to habituate this valuable habit in every child -- Ameen
Book Recommendation: How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer Adler.
Before reading anything else, I highly recommend reading this book! The skills and concepts that this book will provide you with will not only give you the reasons to keep reading as an activity of constant growth, but may help you understand (for the first time even) how to read literature -- skills I was never taught from anyone but learned through this book. I know that sounds a bit patronizing, but even if you are a life-long reader, this may very well pay dividends beyond your expectations.
Contemplative Quote: “In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” -- Mortimer Adler
One of the goals I have this year is not to read more books, but to do a second or even a third read on the books that I have loved. Much like watching the same movie again or like the protagonist Daniel in the movie Karate Kid, repeating an action habituates it in your unconscious mind and only then does it truly become part of you.