Tuesday, April 28, 2009
It's true that back in the day (my day) we spent a lot more time outside. In the summer months I spent some of that outdoor time sitting on blanket under a tree reading. It was too hot in the house back in the day before air conditioning. I read everything I could get my hands on. I didn't like everything I read, but reading did something--it took me away from the life I was living at that moment. I imagined my life substituted into the POV and became the proverbial "fly on the wall."
I've been doing some introspection on just what is it I do. I was a teacher, even when I was in elementary school. My teachers always put me in charge of other kids, either reading to them or having me listen to them read. When I was just a kid in elementary school I went to a two-room church school and we had eight grades in those rooms. Instead of doing my school work in the class, I'd sit there listening to all the other classes and then take all of my classwork home. I was in second grade before the teacher finally figured out what I was doing.
We prayed for missionaries and world leaders, other kids, our families and other items the teacher laid out for us, and one person we always included were the "colporters." All I knew about these colporters were that they were some sort of book missionary. They took books to people who might not know these books existed, and they introduced reading and books in faraway lands, too. I thought that would be the best job of all! One of the main reasons I became an elementary teacher was to work with students in reading. I taught children who had difficulty reading, children who were learning English as a second language and also worked with high school students who had difficulties with reading. I could think of no better mission in life.
I am still influencing readers. I also read manuscripts for various reasons, but mainly to bring that manuscript to book form. (I hope.) And I still love books and bringing those books to readers who would like them.
When I was teaching sixth grade, every day after lunch I'd have the kids relax while I read a chapter from a book I'd choose from the library. When we'd finish a book, I'd take them to the library and return the book I'd read. The librarian asked me one day, "What are you doing in that classroom? Kids are requesting the book you check out in droves! I can't keep up with them." Influencing readers is a great joy for me.
The irony in all of this? My dad, who died back in 1999, was a functional illiterate. I did try helping him (he asked me to) and he was reading through the Bible (The Living Bible) when he died. My mom, an avid reader, had covered for him plenty, and he was so smart, he did what many people do when they have trouble reading--he compensated.
This blog really isn't changing much. It still will encompass my passions. I'm a book scout, and whether the topic of conversation involves reading favorites, pointing out books, how to write books, or just what is IN the books, reading is fundamental to everything included here.
Hope you will come back to share what you're reading, what you are writing, or simply to consider what is included here.