"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." ~ Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"
By Diane Forrest
As I was preparing for this article - this joke came to mind...
The new school librarian decided that instead of checking out children's books by writing the names of borrowers on the book cards herself, she would have the youngsters sign their own names. She would then tell them they were signing a 'Contract' for returning the books on time.
Her first customer was a third grader who looked surprised to see a new librarian. He brought three books to the desk and shoved them across to the librarian, giving her his name as he did so.
The librarian pushed the books back and told him to sign them out. The boy laboriously printed his name on each book card and then handed them to her with a look of utter disgust.
Before the librarian could even start her speech, he said scornfully, "The other librarian we had knew how to write."
Working with young children first learning to read can be a very rewarding time. When my son was born, my aunt, who is a school teacher, told me right off to read to him every day. So I started reading to him when he was just a few days old. I didn't have a big supply of children's books at the time, so I just read the same book over and over again, until I was able to get more. I would make weekly trips to the store and buy a few baby books at a time. These were mostly small books with plastic pages with colorful pictures on it. The selections were very limited, so I ended up writing my own stories and coloring pictures for him to look at. As he got older, I would take him to the library every week. I had a large tote bag that we would fill with dozens of books at a time, and come home and read them all over and over again. By the time he started preschool he had already been introduced to thousands of books and this made his transition to school much easier for him. He continued through school reading and learning, and still to this day he will read books to increase his knowledge.
Today is Young Reader's Day. It is so important to encourage reading while children are still young. When I was in school, each day after lunch my teacher would read a chapter of a book to us. I still remember those stories today, and how she made those books come alive. Now when there is a gift giving occasion for the children I know, I always send books so they can enjoy them over and over again, and expand their knowledge. If you have any kids in your life, consider getting them a book for Christmas or just because. If you don't have any young readers, you might want to volunteer at a local school, library or even church and read a story to them during story time. Not only will you be rewarded by the smiles and excitement in their faces, but you will get the satisfaction of knowing that for brief time, you made a difference in someone else's life.