By Loraine Debnam
We are lucky enough to have in our family a very precious and special little girl who celebrated her first birthday in May.
Now Jane is a very fortunate girl.
She has in her life two wonderful, caring and intuitive parents, a nana and grandmothers who do what they are supposed to do – adore her, and an extended family that is delighted to have her as part of their group.
She also has a close circle of friends of a variety of ages (her parents think they are their friends but Jane knows better).
As she grows and changes, I see her becoming a very social human being.
She is thoughtful at times, mostly reasonable (except when teeth are rearing their ugly heads), has a sense of humor and is just reaching the first developmental stage of a good conversationalist — she listens intently.
Her parents and grandma are already sharing with her the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from a good book shared with someone you love.
She is past eating them and turning the pages back and forth and is now indulging her curiosity about the story itself. The Wonky Donkey is currently a favorite.
She and her family have a favorite chair in which they cuddle and share.
The gift they are giving her is much greater than just the time spent reading aloud to her.
Two different research studies, ten years apart, support the statement that children who are read to become more avid readers than those who do not hear good language and prose.
For myself, reading is a supreme pleasure.
I always have a small stack of books on the end table beside my favorite chair.
Just seeing them there fills me with delightful anticipation and I can hardly wait to become a part of someone else’s story for a little while.
I have a larger stack waiting in my bedroom and these are also beckoning me as summer holidays approach.
Paperbacks, hardcovers, brand new, tattered corners, it matters not.
Each has a distinct world for me to discover and enjoy (and if I find I am not taking pleasure from a particular book, there are so many others to take its place).
Each chapter shows me how a character may solve problems, or introduces me to another part of the world, or another period in history, or the author’s ideas about another part of the galaxy.
And, although I never realized it as I was growing up, reading gave me a greater vocabulary and a better understanding of how words are put together in the English language.
My grammar is not always what it should be, but I do know how it’s supposed to sound.
Joseph Gold, author of Read for Your Life, says “the pleasures of reading can be important aids in coping with stress, life crises, and growing up”.
I support this notion wholeheartedly.
Lucky you Jane, you have a family who believes in this as strongly as I do!
Happy, happy birthday.