“Never underestimate the power of tea and a good book.” —Unknown
There may be continents between us, but through the gift of reading we’re connected. Today is Read Across America Day, the perfect time to recognize and honor how reading enhances your life. The National Education Association created the day to celebrate reading with kids, but I believe it’s something for all of us to celebrate because it is through the gift of reading that we’re connected.
I struggled through elementary school in reading and math, and I couldn’t help but feel isolated from my peers. I didn’t know how to communicate my needs, so I fell behind academically. Sometimes I asked my older sister to help me read, and she spent time teaching me how to sound out words and look up their definitions in the dictionary. Slowly I learned to understand what I was reading. What a breakthrough! After that, I couldn’t get enough. I’d gone from fearing to loving books.
Reading has taught me about life, love, people, science, history, and myself. Reading opens the door to communication. It’s a tool we need, not only for knowledge but for growth and self-esteem.
I love the whole experience of reading: the smell of a book, how it feels in my hands, the typography and illustrations, flipping through the pages, and saving my place with a bookmark.
The most rewarding experience of all is reading to my children. I love the closeness of anticipating what will happen next and the fun of talking about it later, sharing their joy as they began to understand how the letters join together into words, sentences, stories—and even before that, from infancy to age three, realizing how reading aloud to a child creates important connections in the brain that enhance future learning, achievement, and so much more.
Aside from setting aside more time than usual to read to your children tonight, I can’t think of a better way to honor Read Across America Day than by donating $100 to a wonderful Save the Children Program that stocks libraries with children’s books.
We’d like to share a few early reading reflections from some of our Rewire Me contributors. Their favorite childhood books are featured in this gallery.
What were some of yours?