The following is the response I gave to the survey from the Edmonton Literacy Coalition. You can view a full list of my survey responses here.
Reading has been a huge part of my life for... well, all of it. Before I had even enrolled in kindergarten, I was riding the train from Claireview to the Milner library as a fun way to spend the afternoon learning and taking out books. Early learning and reading has given me a huge advantage in the rest of my life, and my inspiration for learning has led to many situations where a seemingly piece of irrelevant knowledge in my head has paid off dividends in unexpected ways.
What I've achieved as a reader is what gives me such grave concern when I hear statistics about the number of Albertans that struggle with literacy and numeracy in their everyday lives.
While basic literacy and numeracy is a struggle in that those without basic literacy tend to get stuck in cycles of poverty, I believe it's more than that. We don't need to share the joy of reading just so those in poverty can do their taxes. There is true bliss in opening up a book and being transported to another world, or reading about our own world and learning new and exciting things. Reading isn't just a tool to accomplish a goal or to make money, I believe it's a fundamental part of the human experience and one of the foremost ways we can share our experiences with each other (you're reading this now, are you not?)
We need to support the excellent work the Edmonton Literacy Coalition is doing in partnership with our incredible library system and reach out to as many minds in Edmonton that will have us.
Reading isn't a chore, or a skill. It's an experience that we should share.
Troy Pavlek ran as an unelectable fringe candidate in the 2017 Edmonton municipal election
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Troy has read well over seven books in his lifetime
He's also on Facebook and Twitter, and will log on whenever duty calls.