And for all the years reading together! Pictured L to R: me and Mom, Dad and Mom, and the next generation of readers as seen in my youngest daughter.
I grew up during the Great Depression years in rural North Carolina, USA. Books were hard to come by! When a good book came our way it was so exciting and Mom would settle in her favorite chair and read the book aloud to her brood of five. I think this may explain why books are still so valuable to me today. And, it is likely one of the main reasons that I visited the library often when my children were young so I was guaranteed a new supply of books to read aloud to them. My son, Bryant, who has started IBOB has kept his entire collection from book clubs for children which came through the mail. Obviously my love of literature has transferred to him. But how? I attribute most of his intrinsic affection for books and reading to the two of us engaging in the activity itself. We didn’t discuss its importance, do a great deal of research, or necessarily choose the best books at the time I’m sure. We just read. We read every spare moment that we were not outside exploring nature around us. My mother, his grandmother, lived with us during his childhood and she read aloud to him every day. Believe me, if a lap was empty, Bryant was climbing up with a book in hand! Mother loved to say, "If you can't read, you can't learn anything else."
In discussing with Bryant the many trends in education it is easy to see how reading for children may have declined. Between the competing interests of all the new gadgets I see in children's hands, the demands on their parents to simply make a living, and the many classroom assignments for students that actually do not include much extended reading there must not be a great deal of time or energy left over just to sit down and engage in the higher order thinking that is by default innate in reading engaging literature.
I continue to learn even at my ripe old age. I just saw my son's Twitter account and read the phrase above his photo: "The proof is in the pudding." He got that from me, too. And when I think about learning I know that this is where the proof is as well. I hope his IBOB initiative puts books in the hands of children all over the world who wouldn't necessarily have them otherwise. And, I hope the enthusiasm associated with it will create in them a desire to actually read those books. And that the world around them will give them time to just read. "The proof is in the reading."
I have an eye appointment next week and I'm quite concerned. One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind with my failing eyesight was the fear of not being able to read ever again. Bryant has been trying to convince me that my ears will serve me well with some device that has audio books on it. Let's pray it doesn't come to that but if it does at least I can still listen to a good story while I drive. Sincerely, Marjorie McEntire