“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.“
My love for reading started when I was little more than a toddler, and it has never waned in all the years since I held that very first book.
It all started with my dad…
Times were hard back when my dad was a child. They were so hard in fact that he quit school after 6th grade to work and help feed his large family.
Although he lost out on a huge portion of his childhood, dad always possessed one thing that was among his most cherished possessions: a voracious appetite for reading.
And read he did – everything from the morning paper to the school books my siblings and I brought home with us every evening.
Anything and everything was fair game when it came to dad’s reading activities, including the two-inch-thick “Sears Catalogs” and the paperback copies of the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” that arrived in the mail like clockwork each year.
Formal education was never in the cards for my dad, but the knowledge he acquired over the course of his long life would surely have merited a Ph.D. from a top university.
I inherited my own love for reading from dad because he shared his own love for reading with me.
Long before most kids even think about learning to read he would prop me up beside him on the couch and let me look at the pictures that accompanied whatever material he happened to be reading at the time.
When I saw a picture that piqued my interest he would start reading aloud the story or lesson the picture was a part of. Noting my interest, he soon began teaching me the alphabet.
Before long I was reading along with him, correcting my pronunciation as he pointed out my frequent errors. Those errors became fewer and farther between as time passed.
By the time I started kindergarten I was already reading on a level that astounded Mrs. Henman, a wonderful teacher who passed away long ago, yet lives on in my heart till this day.
Of course I was no more intelligent than the other kids in my class. The difference in our reading skills was simply a result of my dad passing his love for reading on to me at such a young age.
In case you’re wondering, this story has no “moral” in the classic sense. It’s simply a testament to the power of reading and how it changed the lives of my dad and his youngest child.
Sadly, dad passed away almost 23 years ago. If he were alive today he would be 104.
But in my mind he’ll always be the kind and loving young man who sat me up on the couch and gave me one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child: The gift of the love of reading.
Do you love to read? If so, have you shared your love for reading with your own kids?
Here’s a fantastic short video that explains the benefits of reading books. I hope you’ll take a few moments to check it out…
Note: You can watch this video at full screen by clicking the little “square” icon in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.