One of my regular blog reads is A Commonplace Book, written by author extraordinaire Julius Lester. It links to another blog called Olio, a place where he puts material that simply doesn't fit into his other sites. He recently posted the text of a speech he gave at the UMass Perspectives in Children's Literature Conference. Here is an excerpt:
Only those of us passionately involved with children’s literature seem to understand one simple but profound fact: If we are going to have a nation of literate and articulate people, they have to become avid readers long before they become adults. The child who does not like to read becomes an adult who will not read.You can't imagine how wonderfully insightful this speech is. (Oh, sure you can, it's Julius Lester.) Go now and read the speech in its entirety. Really. Go!