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The Importance of Child Literacy

The Importance of Child Literacy 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

My son sits reading “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, one of my personal favorite books. He’s eight years old and now reads on the fourth grade level and so fast it hinders him to read out-loud.  I glance over and the page says:

Some of Wilbur’s friends worried for fear all this attention would go to his head and make him stuck up. But it never did. Wilbur was modest; fame did not spoil him. He still worried about the future, as he could hardly believe that a mere spider would be able to save his life.

Read to your childMemories Resurfaced

It brought back memories, memories of myself sitting by my grandmother’s fireplace in the house on the farm back in Loudonville, Ohio – on a winter day as the snow beat against the bay window in her living room. The pine floors and the pine ceiling surrounding me with the green and white paisley wallpaper and the silence of the farm. My grandmother always read to me and later showed me how to read simple books like “Dick and Jane” or “The Very Hungry Caterpillar“. My very favorite book; “The best nest” by P.D. Eastman still has a very fond shelf in my memory. However, it’s not the incredible illustrations or the cute story that makes this book my favorite… it’s the fact that my grandmother, someone who was very  dear to me read it to me. I can still hear her voice in my head as she sang the tune that the birds used to sing in the book. It wasn’t a written tune, but one she had made up:

I love my house. I love my nest. In all the world, this nest is best.

It’s a bittersweet memory, given the fact that she passed away when I was 14. But, it brings warmth to hear that voice in my head, singing that song after twenty six years.

The Critical Bond

Teaching your children to read is a very, very important skill, but reading to your children is even more important. It builds memories and it creates a foundation for them that they will never forget.

Take time to read to your children and your grandchildren, because you never know if it might be the memory that survives, decades after your gone.

The Worlds that it Opens Up

I am now a writer and an author myself. I wonder often if my grandmother had not helped to build that foundation, would I still have this desire to write and to create worlds. Perhaps I would, but it’s so much richer having had her help me learn to read and spending the time to read to me.

Teaching your children to read helps them realize a world beyond their own. Helps them discover places that could never exist, people that are only imaginary and also it helps them learn about our past.

My eight year old son has a personal goal – Read at least one a day. He’s been known to stay up “too late” to do so, but I’m proud of him none the less.

Broaden Your Literary Palette

Broaden Your Literary Palette 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

I stand and look at my sad excuse for a library (actually just a single wooden bookshelf) and let out a sigh as I see a nice collection, but very few names. Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Clive Cussler, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Saul and a smattering of other authors.

I find it it a bit depressing. First, that I don’t have a monster library that stretches the walls of my enormous library with ladders that roll back and forth so that I can ride along the walls as I read my rare Stephen King signed first edition of Carrie… Well, okay, my ten foot by ten foot office that is tucked into the corner of my basement, and the closest thing I have to a signed copy of Carrie is the library stamp in the cover that says “Used”.

Secondly, that there are so few names. Granted, I do have a few more names on my Kindle app on my iPad. However, expanding one’s reader palette requires three things:

  1. Money. Something I do not have much of, being a fledgling author.
  2. Time to read more, something I do not have much of working full time… being a fledgling author.
  3. Most importantly, the ability (or desire) to step outside one’s comfort levels when it comes to reading. This I have.

Don’t get me wrong, I too see a stack of books at the bookstore or online and can’t help but gravitate towards the authors I already love. However, as of late I have been trying more to concentrate on diversifying my literary palette.

With each new author you will find that their style is different. It takes a while to get comfortable with how they create characters and how they paint a scene. However, in time you (and I) will find it also broadens your vocabulary, understanding and quite possibly your intellect as well.

So, step out today and buy a new author you’ve never read. And I, shall do the same.

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