Books And The Value Of Reading


I can remember not being able to read. Sunday morning when the paper arrived, there were two parts of the Sunday Funnies. My brother inevitable clamped onto one, and my sister the other. (Yes, I was the youngest). I waited. And waited. And waited. Goodness, I thought, they should let me have the funnies first because I didn’t take nearly as long as they did. I mean, how long does it take to look at the pictures?

Finally, I remember one Sunday begging my sister not to read the comics because I had to wait so long. If she would just look at the pictures, like I did, she’d be done in no time at all! She looked at me as if I was off my rocker. 😆

Needless to say, I was highly motivated to read. I was the only one in my family who couldn’t spell, so when my parents started spelling things out, I knew it was me they were keeping secrets from, no one else. Yep, I WANTED to read!

Even before I could, books were important to me. All kinds of people read to me. One boy in the school where my mom taught had trouble with reading (I found out later), so he was assigned to read to me after lunch. (I went to the equivalent of pre-school in the one room school where my mom taught). On occasion, my dad read to all of us before bedtime. When I was sick, my mom would read to me, and from time to time my sister would read to me, even after I was able to read. Eventually I had teachers read to me, too.

I loved listening to stories. I could close my eyes and picture the people and places and see the action in my head. Later, when I read books for myself, it was easy for me to imagine the things I was reading. In fact, that’s why I loved books so much. I felt as if I entered a different world and experienced the things the characters experienced.

I laugh now at some of the books that were my favorites. I loved my brother’s Sugar Creek Gang books written by Hutchens. I loved my sister’s favorite book, too — Orie’s Wooden Leg. Best of all were the William Farley horse books, especially the ones featuring the Black Stallion. (The Island Stallion was OK). And then there was Nancy Drew.

Somewhere along the line I fell in love with The Light In The Forest by Conrad Richter (take a second to read the Wikipedia summary I linked to. The story is heart wrenching.

My sixth grade teacher made an impact on me and my reading. She read a number of books to us, and I ended up re-reading them because I loved them so much. White Fang by Jack London was one (I loved being a wolf0. Another was The Trumpeter Of Krakow by Eric Kelly. Then there was the lone non-fiction work — Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl.

I could go on and on — the books I loved when I was little, the ones that started me reading the classics, those I read for school, those I hated, and those I still love.

Reading, what a great invention. What a great gift. What a great privilege.

So how’s your summer reading program shaping up? Do you have some special books picked out? Old favorites, or new authors you want to try out?

Let’s talk books! 😀

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Published in: on June 3, 2011 at 6:33 pm  Comments (7)  
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