Sunday, September 6, 2015

books open our eyes to the world

One of my favorite days in elementary school was when the Scholastic book order sheets arrived. I would promptly look at every item, circle the things I was interested in, and couldn't wait to get home to talk to my mom about what I could order. Then I'd sit with anticipation for the day to come when the order would arrive.

Ahhhh, the smell of a book. It's a sensation I still get sentimental about. The smell of new books, old books, libraries, even the crack of a spine for the first time.

Books are a gift. But knowing how to put the letters on the pages together into words and then words into a sentence and sentences into paragraphs that make sense, that's a gift.

Much of the world is illiterate. One source suggests that 785 million adults worldwide are illiterate.  1 in 5 adults in the world cannot read.  Something you and I take for granted given the fact that you are sitting here reading this on a computer or mobile device of some sort. What gets me beyond that is that 2 out of 3 of those are women.  And, as we know women are often the ones who teach the next generation most any skill.

While a global issue, illiteracy is an issue much closer to home.  The Ozark Literacy Council, Literacy Council of Benton County and the Northwest Arkansas Reading Council are all Northwest Arkansas organizations committed to changing those stats.  Later this month, I'll tackle some "did you know" facts about literacy and Arkansas, more specifically Northwest Arkansas. But, in 2003, the National Center for Education Statistics proposed that 13% of the adult population in Washington County (Fayetteville/Springdale) and 12% of adults in Benton Co (Rogers/Bentonville) lacked "basic prose literacy skills."  You and I would consider these some of the wealthiest places we have visited.  But money does not determine literacy skill.
 
Books open our eyes to the world.  A few thoughts on literacy #NWArkCares #nwark #nationalreadabookday @bigpittstopSo, I ask the question "Do you remember who taught you to read?" This past weekend I went to The Bush Center and was struck by the No Child Left Behind exhibit. While there are lots of opinions around this part of the Bush Administration, what I loved was the commitment to free education for all.  And, I love even more that Mrs. Bush was (is) so committed to education and reading that she was able to keep the committment to this platform during George W.'s administration.

I paused for a moment on Saturday afternoon and looked at this wall of books - Goodnight Moon,
Charlotte's Web, Curious George, Little Bear, Little House on the Prarie, Bridge to Terebithia, Beezus and Ramona, Corduroy, Old Yeller, Hank the Cowdog, Clifford, and Dr. Seuss, they were all influential literary pieces in my background.  Think about it.  Reading words on a page unravel an adventure that a movie or TV show could never really capture.

Books and reading are a gift. Books open your mind to the world. Books take you on adventures to places you would never visit. Books challenge you to dream and imagine a world you could never know. Books tie cultures and fashion and cuisine.  Books let you explore character flaws you might not process on your own and introduce you to amazing people you might never meet. 

What would your life be like if you couldn't read?

11 comments:

Dorothy Johnson said...

I'm grateful I grew up in a home with books and was read to before I learned to read. I still love a good book.

Paige Lorrabeth said...

That question of what life would be like without being able to read has been floating around my house over the past week, it's nuts how much we take it for granted!

Jacqueline Wolven said...

The hours and hours I spent reading to Paige when she was tiny, even when bone tired, are moments I would repeat over and over. The gift of reading is singular to anything else and those Scholastic sheets? Heaven on earth!

Kayla Dean said...

I miss book fair days....oh well, just another thing I'll get to relive through my son one day.

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

I don't remember them so much from my childhood, but we lived on air force bases all over the world, and this was 40 years ago.
But, my kids loved to order from Scholastic, and I always loved book fairs when I was teaching first grade- I think I bought more than my students did!
To this day I love to read..but I worry about my grandchildren who are more in to their video games and computers than spending time with a good book.

Talya Tate Boerner said...

Omgoodness I loved those book order forms! AND, in my bedroom on the farm, I still have all those books I ordered back in the day.

Tanya Coffman said...

I remember very well the year I learned to read. I was reading EVERYTHING! It was like a lightbulb moment.

I think it's wonderful that Mrs. Bush was dedicated to early literacy. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

Tanya Coffman said...

I remember very well the year I learned to read. I was reading EVERYTHING! It was like a lightbulb moment.

I think it's wonderful that Mrs. Bush was dedicated to early literacy. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

Keisha Pittman said...

I think it's a perfect thing to read together. How cool that you could keep them in their books and spend time doing that together

Keisha Pittman said...

Me too. Mom said they all went with me. I thought they were something they should read at grandmas. The golden books too!

Keisha Pittman said...

Seeing the titles of those books made me stop in my tracks.