Do you have a favorite book? Have you shared it with others? What makes it your favorite? Let’s talk about the written word, what makes it special, and how best to share the love of reading with others.
What makes a book a favorite thing
This can be something as easy as a name that reminds one of a favorite person, or as intensive as a plot that is never quite certain in the ending. A mystery can capture interest, as well as a love story. For others, it is a strategy of war, or an informative book on gardening. Have you visited someone with a shelf full of cookbooks, all loved and used?
Evidently, different things can call to each of us, encouraging a commitment and fond memory of the writing.
Share with others
As children, we are taught to share tangible items, such as toys or food. Why, then, are we so hesitant to share a story or subject that brings us happiness? Perhaps we fear ridicule from those who do not read, or do not understand the appreciation we have for certain subject matter. Sometimes we are not certain if we understand the theme ourselves. We hesitate to offer an opinion or suggestion to others, due to the uncertainty.
Spread the love of reading
I continue to be impressed by people who share their time by volunteering to read to children at the library or their school. Seeing adults use their time to share the written word and printed pictures with them gives children an appreciation of reading. Can you recall the awe you felt when someone first read to you? They had the magic key to put action to the pictures in the book. Some readers should have been on stage; they put so much enthusiasm in the parts. Other readers also struggled with words, but did their best to make the story entertaining and valuable. One of my friends used to replace words she did not know with words that seemed to fit the story. Adlibbing smoothly, it took several years before her parents realized she was not learning some of the words in the book. They instantly started sitting with her, so they could look at the pages at the same time. Listening is definitely enhanced when one sees the word that should be spoken while it is read out loud.
Deprive No Person of the freedom to read
Most of us read for knowledge. That is a good, commendable, thing. Have we in some way influenced some individuals to NOT read for enjoyment? I received several comments from men who wondered if perhaps that was the case, as they knew women who enjoyed reading immensely, while the men themselves thought it was not something done for a purpose.
All of my children love to read. Knowledge is one item they anticipate getting from the written word; an excellent story is the other thing they look forward to. I feel good knowing that they have favorite authors and genres of books, ranging from science fiction to physics.
I did have to think, though, if there was a time when I discouraged reading to any person. I’m glad to attest that I did not. Let us all, however, be certain we are sending the right message: reading for fun is a good thing.
Reinforce the Right
Invite the reader to read with you, watching the pages as you read, reciprocate. If you both find a word you are unfamiliar with, look it up for the meaning and the pronunciation. Many times, seeing the meaning gives the answer to how it is said. Never hesitate to ask someone else how it should be said. Someone out there knows the answer. The important thing to remember is that none of us are born knowing how to read. It is a skill that must be practiced, and reinforced.
Reinforce the right to read. Check with your local library. Do they accept donations? Do they accept used books? Often, you can pick up inexpensive books at yard sales. What a nice gift to give a reading public.
Lastly, reinforce the write. When people of any age write a word they just read, they are reaffirming their understanding of the word, and the context in which it should be used.
It is never too late
It is never too late to learn to read. There are many excellent books available for readers; books that encourage reading comprehension and skill, while enticing the reader to try new and varied stories.
Below are two books and two series of books, which are good for shared reading, whether it is sharing for a class, a group, or a pair of readers. Most are available through Amazon.com as used books, which makes them affordable. Borders is also a good place to check.
Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry is intended for grades 3 – 6, but actually appeals to any age. It was published by Rand McNally in 1953, and made into a movie in 1967. It’s about a real life burro named Brighty who lived in the Colorado River part of the Grand Canyon during 1890 – 1922. Out of the many books I have read to others, this book is the distinguished champion. If you are able to get the movie, it would be a good lesson to first read the book with your group, and then compare the movie to the written story.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach, was also turned into a movie in 1973. I read this book to my family while we were headed off to the mountains for camping. We read it again while we were at the campsite, and then again on the way home. The book got passed around so all had a turn at a page or two. From there, it went to school where it was a hit. It’s hard to say “No” to a seagull that wants to be more than what his fellow seagulls tell him he can be.
The Deltora Quest series, written by Emily Rodda, is for more sophisticated 4th graders and up. It has dragons, evil leaders, and people suffering from bad choices. There is some violence, and some gruesome references, like the trolls who eat people. It is fantasy, but applies to real life.
The Warriors series, by Erin Hunter, is a grand on-going collection about cat clans and their struggle for existence in life’s complex system. There are sad parts, because like all life, there is an end to each one. Sometimes kits die; sometimes leaders die. At times, there is bodily harm that affects the cat’s ability to carry out duties. Tough life decisions are part of the series.
We all know it is best to get parents involved before presenting a book to the class. Have an open reading night, if your district approves, where you and the parents get together to review the book. You may have to do most of the reading; perhaps you will get a volunteer.
Share the stories you love with others. Continue to set the good example by reading.