Growing Up Digital: To Addison… With Love, Your 11-Year-Old Self

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It’s all about that digital age! The amount of children who read books continues to shrink due to apps, games and YouTube. Educators are not only fighting for the attention of children in the classroom but at home as well, where more than 50% of family households now own at least one tablet. Sure, most parents try to instill digital discipline into their offspring, attempting to foster their kids’ reading habits by using these devices to teach rather than dumb down. But are we missing the mark?

There’s a disturbing pattern on the rise, kids not using these devices for educational purposes but for playing mobile games, texting their friends and watching mindless videos on YouTube. Although kids still seem to read books for pleasure, we as a society must nip this in the bud before the youth of America finds themselves growing up without books.

Addison Riecke, star of Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans, a live-action, half-hour comedy series about a family of Superheroes trying to fit in and live a normal life, despite their super-human powers, knows the value of a good book. At just eleven-years-old, this pint-sized talent is rejecting these alarming trends and focusing on her love of reading. This heartfelt letter she wrote to herself will remain a constant reminder that despite the fast-paced, digital world around her—reading has been a building block, and without it, she might not have found the determination to act and to write a children’s book.

Dear Addison,

This is your 11-year-old self, I’m reaching out to let you know how important reading is, and how much it will shape you as a person as you grow. You just turned five years old.  It is the end of January and you are enjoying your life as a wide-eyed pre-kindergartner. You are full of life, joy, and energy.  During your pre-K school year, your teacher saw something in you that made you stand out from the rest.  It was your ability to read, and your love of reading. Before nap time, your teacher would get you to read books to the class. It gave you a sense of accomplishment and made you want to read more. People will tell you that reading is valuable, you won’t understand just how valuable reading is until you’re older.

Addison at 5 yearls oldAs years went by, your love for reading developed even more. Instead of wanting to watch TV, or play video games, you asked to go to the bookstore. You would come home with books that many thought would be too much for you to read.  You easily finished chapter books in a couple of days. Being an only child, you would spend hours in your room reading to your dolls, and acting out scenes in the book.  You had a very vivid imagination. You could envision the characters in your books coming to life and feel their joy, pain, and laughter. You would escape into their world and become part of their story.  Little did you know that this vivid imagination, and love of storytelling, would help you years later when you were blessed to land a role on a television show called “The Thundermans”.  Acting allowed you to escape into a magical world and tell stories to children all over the world. Your love of reading is what gave you the imagination and storytelling ability to help you become the actress you’ve always wanted to be. Many children may not understand that reading a script and acting it out is the same as reading a book and acting it out.  You need a vivid imagination, as well as, great reading skills. These are important traits for all children.

From reading books you also developed an appreciation of writing, how it made you feel, your imagination would play out on paper. You decided around 10 years old you would begin writing a children’s book, in hopes to inspire other children to love reading too, and to help give children a voice and sense of self-confidence.

There is so much I would love to tell you; in a nutshell, reading has been the building block of who you are today.  It has provided you with confidence, inspiration, creativity, the ability to concentrate, and be a great active listener. Reading stimulates the imagination, perpetuates learning, and helps with writing skills. There are no limits to what you can do and achieve.  The world is yours to explore, just by opening a book.

Addison KCA'sWith love,

Your 11 year old self

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