Reading

Recently I wrote about one of Creation’s miracles: a baby boy.  He came packaged with all the needed parts for his long expected life.
But it’s not enough since he himself has to learn an infinite number of things in order to become a viable, participating part of the society of which he is a part. The process is overwhelming yet over time, he will master all of the essentials and depending on his interests and creativity, he will add  to his unlimited knowledge by developing more and more  of his  brain capacity to an astounding degree.
Yes, he needs to learn about colors, shapes, that fire is hot, how to count, develop social relationships, how to tie his shoe, that spinach is not good to eat, that mother means love and security, how to express his thoughts with his newly found language skills; crawl, walk, fall, run; how to get parents’ attention, learn the sweetness of sleep, being inquisitive and that’s just before he reaches his first birthday.  He learns early that there is much, much more to come; mysteries wait to be solved, one of them being his ability to READ.
He already can communicate by speaking, an indispensible skill, but much of what he still has to learn does not follow that verbal path.  He has to be able to decode those alphabetic symbols and make words that have special meanings when placed together into sentences.  That is called READING.  Much of what he ultimately achieves in his life will depend on how well he masters this critical skill, this universal method of communicating and learning.  Reading is fundamental.
Learning to read is a lifelong process, begun at the hands of a parent who understand its significance and who employs techniques to develop the child’s skill long before he sits at the feet of a classroom teacher.  The options for home, pre-school  teaching are as near as the nearest television set, for many the first exposure to learning, to associate objects with those strange looking  symbols called words thus being able to read.  Reading is quite a normal process; it takes time and armloads of patience with wonderful lifelong results.
What caused me to write this was my watching a television program on appropriately ETV when the speaker was talking about reading and its importance, stating that by the third grade, the basics of that decisive skill are pretty well formed; however in the state mentioned, nearly 40% of those tested failed to achieve the desired goal.  To further emphasize its importance he made a thought provoking statement that stuck with me.  He said, “We learn to read, but we read to learn” meaning that whatever the subject we are trying to understand, reading is the key element to its understanding.  It does not matter if the subject is math, science, art – you name it – reading is the key and without it, the learner is academically handicapped.  If you were to have a choice of what subject you could master, without hesitation, choose reading. It is the greatest intellectual treasure.
Of course if it were easy, reading would be mastered as easily as the operation of a smart phone by a little one but it isn’t.  There are all kind of subtleties involved, different letter combinations, syllable stresses, double meanings, silent letters, vowels sounds and finally oral delivery.
I recall a famous bumper sticker that summarizes these thoughts about  reading‘s soaring status:  “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”
Think about it.        
*
Bill Lee, PO Box 128,
Hamer, SC 29547