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National Editorials & Columns

Literacy is a lifetime, on-going experience

Sadly, at least for me, this will be my last Reading Link.

A few months ago when I was given notice so that I could choose what I most wanted to cover, I panicked. My mind bubbles with so many things I want to share. As I go through my day I add notes to a file of interesting literacy aspects and 52 pages remained, so I needed to select carefully.

Literacy is a lifetime, on-going experience, not an event that comes, and then stops.  Literacy roots itself in our social relationships. That stands to reason, “Why be literate if we don’t interact with others?”  

That is also why literacy role modeling is an integral part of a culture.  

I can’t imagine a day without eating, nor can I imagine a day without being actively involved in literacy and thinking.

We respond to all writing emotionally and intellectually. Intellectually we search for more information and evaluation is part of our search.We respond through discussion (hooray for book clubs). Any opportunity to dramatize what we read makes it live for us. Through movement we better understand themes.  

Writing about what we read imprints it on our brain computer. Writing a new ending, writing a letter to the character or author, journaling, writing a poem, or turning it into a fable, folktale or legend gets us involved.

Art and music of all kinds help us enjoy what we read. Illustrating it or making up a song touches our creativity.

All these things help even reluctant readers read more. If you are a lifetime reader remember the things that encouraged you to read.  

One of my sisters and I lately discussed our love of reading. We punctuated our conversation with, “Hey that’s a chance to read!”  

Wait time anywhere, traffic jams, between tasks time, etc., provide reading opportunities for us. We enjoy opposite reading interests, but we love to read.  

We both like challenging vocabulary and interesting content. I like to vary my reading between short and fast paced writing, a simple style, and very complex material. I enjoy figuring out the solution of a mystery before the main character does and she says she doesn’t like mysteries because after she has read it she doesn’t know what she learned.  

You are what you read.     

Our days are filled with reading opportunities. We learn as we read newspapers, bulletins, pamphlets, stories, side notes, etc. Parents as primary instructors develop children’s reading attitudes and they deserve positive role models?  

Our healthy reading attitudes lead to millions of hours of pleasure, plus added success in all our endeavors.

It is well proven winners are not born. The concept of winning is instilled in children long before they reach school age. 

A reader is a winner. Reading leads to acquiring knowledge and knowledge opens doors of opportunities. When you read to your child, you open doors you can’t even imagine.  

Sadly, the reverse is also true, by not reading you close doors that you can’t foresee at this point.

Young readers prefer characters to be near their age. Be sure reading time isn’t too restrictive, so the child can say, “Read it again, please.”  

Establish regular reading times and do so in a variety of ways. I enjoy the word “Serendipitous.” Those are moments when everything comes together and you “make memories.”

These moments come because we use multiple opportunities and a variety of reading material to enhance our knowledge. Reading comforts us at times, challenges us, and leads us into adventures we could never personally experience.  It has a magical quality that nothing else has.

By now you know some of my passion for literacy. I believe that it is the ability to realize your potential which enables you to acknowledge responsibility.  

We can live without many things, but in the modern world the inability to reason with what we hear and read may lead to numerous disasters we cannot fathom.  

We can receive gifts, but unless we open them they are useless.  Those of us who are most fortunate come to school with a multitude of positive literacy experiences and are open to what teachers give us.  

There is hope for those who do not have that background and teachers eagerly fill their minds and guide their skills. We the reading public can help them by interacting with the students themselves, by encouraging the teachers and administrations, by volunteer efforts, and numerous other ways.  

Help someone get a library card and use it; give gift subscriptions to magazines and newspapers to families as they are as necessary as food and toys.  Talk to people about what they read.  

Help people know healthy love, the beauty of sharing, and that the literacy wagon promotes success. When we are privileged with success we responsibly reach out a hand and help others to reach success.  

Literacy living is for the strong, for when we are literate we see the stars and gain the courage to reach for them. One concept that modern people often don’t put together is that a reader must write and a writer must read.  

If there is too big a discrepancy between these two skills comprehension remains low. Many good writers discuss aspects of literacy, so I hope you keep reading them. 

I hope you remain focused on the value of literacy. I thank the Newton Daily News for letting me share some of my ideas with you.  

Whether you have agreed with my ideas or not, I hope they challenged you to think, which means you are growing literacy.  

Keep reading, keep thinking, keep writing; let’s talk about them when you see me.

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