Monday, January 28, 2008

they can read!

I have a weird relationship with reading. From what I can tell, I started reading at an abnormally early age, and I don't remember when I couldn't read. My mom likes to tell the story of how, at age four, I was caught not paying attention during "cooking time" in preschool and the teacher asked me to repeat the step of the recipe that had just been explained. I glanced at the big pad of paper where the recipe was written, and read the answer aloud. Then I audibly whispered to my friend, "See? When you know how to read, you don't have to listen to the teacher!"

In elementary school I was ahead of most of my classmates in the subject. Although I am quite literate, and have what I guess is an above-average vocabulary, I now have significant trouble reading for school or for pleasure. My problems have more to do with ability to focus than with actual literacy. And I miss being the kid who loved to read.

Even so, it's easy to take for granted the more practical uses for reading. Restaurant menus, road signs, instructions, song lyrics...when I worked at an adult literacy program, I learned how challenging everyday life can be when you can't read. So I was so excited this weekend to see Khymi and Big Girl Monster reading Frog and Toad are Friends aloud to each other. I feel like they are on the edge of something big, and I'm so glad Khymi has a friend who can experience this with her.

It's always nice to be read to; even long after I could read fluently, I enjoyed hearing a bedtime story. But being able to read to yourself opens up so many possibilities. Reading saved me from abject boredom on numerous long family car trips; Khymi regularly spends a lot of time in the car between here and Mama's, and I think she'll be so happy to have another option available to keep herself occupied, without having to depend on an adult to read to her. It is a huge step towards independence. I am thrilled for her.


Mama Monster said...

Man, without reading I would have died a thousand deaths of boredom, lonliness and despair.

It is absolutely thrilling to see this thing that has been such a gift for me blossoming in my daugher.

I will add that despite my utter love of reading, I have had "dry spells". Full years of only reading magazines or lables on canned food. But something always comes along to remind me of the magic of a good book.

Right now my challenge to myself is more fiction! I've been non-fictioning out for too long.

maria said...

for real! i think that's part of my problem. so many of the interesting books that have made their way into our house recently are nonfiction. i appreciate them but sometimes my eyes glaze over and i can't do it.
i'm glad one of the books i have to read for school this semester is a collection of short stories. otherwise i don't think i'd get any fiction reading in. EXCEPT the kids' books!

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Kan said...

I know someone who has struggled her entire life with reading. To this day, I do not know if she has ever read an entire book. I try to think of the way she must experience the world, but it's pretty tough to imagine. I am so thankful for the many worlds that words have opened up to me.