Reading is, and always has been, important to me. I grew up in a home where books were important and valued and I raised my own children as readers. When I became a teacher, I continued to hold a very important place in my classroom for books and authors and exposed my students to a rich variety of authors and genres. Reading leads to an appreciation of different perspectives. It provides a means of traveling to far-off lands, eras and even into alternate realities. Reading teaches patience and perseverance, empathy and understanding. It connects you to like-minded people and introduces you to people who are vastly different than you. Reading teaches you to create images in your own mind in order to bring printed words to life. Reading is remarkable and being a reader, especially in this age of an excess of electronic stimulation, is so important.