I cannot remember a time when I did not enjoy reading. Being from the generation that grew up and lost teeth with the basal readers regarding the lives of Sally, Dick, and Jane, I may have read about Spot’s running, but I looked forward to knowing what the three children were going to do next.
I remember The Red Bird and The Blue Bird reading groups, and we as students never made fun of or criticized our classmates. Ridiculing our classmates was unheard of during that time.
Miss Linda Burr, a fabulous second grade teacher, kept one group of children busy at their desks while the other group was reading with her. If some of us finished our work ahead of the others, my dynamic second grade teacher, Linda Burr always found something else for us to do. Doing extra tasks, upset no one.
But that which one needs to understand first and foremost is emphasis must be placed on the fact that we read aloud and read silently daily. “Reading is fundamental” because it helps one throughout life. Reading, like the Corona virus, is everywhere. And, whether one has stopped to think about it or not, there are a multiplicity of literacies, which includes reading.
Aside from reading literacy, there’s digital literacy, computer literacy, math literacy, cultural literacy, music literacy, artistic literacy, visual literacy, financial literacy, spiritual literacy, media literacy and visual literacy to name a few. To operate in or fully utilize any of the aforementioned literacies, one must be able to read and comprehend manuals, catalogues and/or books. Thus, reading literacy is the “jack of all trades,” and one needs to get with a reading program because it’s important!
Again, one may struggle to successfully manage life without being able to read and comprehend that which one reads. To perform anything and everything in school, one must read. To drive one must read. To cook one must read. To perform one’s job, one must read. But one reads not only to perform varied tasks; one also reads for entertainment, joy, or pleasure.
As Poet Emily Dickinson has espoused, “There is no frigate like a book.” Yes, a book can provide entertainment, knowledge and joy and take us on journeys to foreign countries and maybe even on a magic carpet ride when one is quarantined, on lock down or not permitted to travel. So, why do so many elementary school children say they dislike reading?
Using those basal readers that told the story of Sally, Dick, and Jane, almost everyone who attended Study Elementary School learned to read by the end of second grade. A few may not have mastered the skill until third grade, but they mastered it because they did not wish to be left behind. While mastering one’s reading skills, no one complained; no one was defiant, and no one talked back to the teacher (the illustrious sage on the stage).
Sure, one can say, “That was back in the day,” but to be successful in the 21st Century, one must be cognizant of more than one literacy, and build on many skills. And, essentially, it all starts with reading!
By reading one can create change, explore one’s heritage, examine new arenas, gain new insights and discover new interests. And one definitely can experience the joy of cooking. But to enhance one’s culinary skills, one must be able to read and comprehend the cookbook “The Joy of Cooking.”
Then too, one must find one’s gift, and gravitate to the literacy for which he has an affinity and develop and enhance it to fulfill one’s purpose! In the meantime, pick up a book, and enjoy the journey of expanding your mind! October is Teen Read Month.