It’s not for lack of trying.
Four years of French classes in elementary school, five years of Latin in high school. Another evening semester of French for Beginners in university… .
And that’s just so strange because I am fascinated by language and its roots. Maybe it’s the way language is taught, maybe it’s the way I learn.
I swear, my high school English teachers didn’t understand grammar themselves, so how could they teach it?
Good thing I’d learned how to read by then.
Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Ian Fleming, J.R.R. Tolkein, Agatha Christie, Herman Melville, John Steinbeck, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway… They were all my English teachers.
That explains a lot about the way I write!
Reading opened up new ideas and worlds to me that I would never have otherwise experienced by the time I reached high school at age 13. And the books I was given to read in school just increased my enthusiasm for reading— and writing.
But my reading began long before that. It started with the bedtime stories my parents used to read to me. And if my dad got tired of reading the Gay Wood Elves or The Pokey Little Puppy over and over again, he’d just sing to me and make me laugh until I couldn’t stay awake any longer.
Learning the basics of reading — and writing and arithmetic — for a child is important because it creates a foundation for later learning, later choices, and informed living.
Once upon a time we may have been able to get away without being able to read well, but those days are gone. A child —or an adult — who can’t read will be cut off from so many choices in later years.
And, as we all know, the older we get, the harder it is to pick up a skill.
Make sure your child and all the children you know are given the gift of literacy.
Read to them, help them, make them understand that reading is the path to freedom.
— Wendy Coomber