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July 6, 2018

Carrying on the Tradition

by Yasmiera

The first memories I have of books are from preschool at four years old attending a school in a suburb of Northern Virginia. The class would sit on the floor, while the teacher would read books which I can’t remember any of the titles of, but what I do remember is the atmosphere and emotion of the classroom when books were read. It was a bit dark; sunlight would filter in through tall narrow windows. There were colorful drawings on the walls and the teacher always sat in a child sized chair at the end of the long table right in front of the window. She was older with greying hair, wore glasses and always had on a dress. When she read the books my focus which seemed to be more on the craft time, would automatically switch to her as she began to read a story. I remember feeling like everything else stopped when she read and there was only that moment and that story.

The next year I started kindergarten, the school was set up on a nice large lush grassy plot of land with lots of tall green trees and a wonderful playground.  My teacher was a bit younger this year than the one I had in preschool but still had grey hair and glasses. Quiet time, this was my favorite time of the class because quiet time meant book time. The teacher would pull out her rocking chair and center it in front of our group and sit down. I remember feeling the anticipation of which book she might pick that day and would find myself scooting as close as I could get to the front of the class. Unlike when I was in preschool, this time I do remember The Velveteen Rabbit, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, and Where the Sidewalk Ends, although there were many others read, those were the ones I remember best and were my favorite. She was every bit as good at reading those books as the teacher was the year before.

My interest in books did not dwindle as I grew and learned to read books for myself; I found that reading was something I enjoyed.  Gone with the Wind and Black Beauty are two of my favorite books I remember reading as a pre-teen several times through each.  As I blossomed into my teenage years I began to read approximately 3 books a week. All I remember is sitting in my room at my desk, my headphones on, listening to music. When I hear a song that stirs my nostalgia the fond memory I have will be of sitting in my room at my desk reading a book while that song played. Now I read anything from youth books to science fiction, horror, drama, fantasy fiction, comics, news, blogs, and the occasional romance novel.

I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite author or book. Some of the books that come to mind are Enders Game and Enders Shadow by Orson Scott Card, The Dragonlance Trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and the Wheel of Time Series by Brandon Sanderson.  All of those I read non-stop (literally) until I finished them. It is not often I find a book that captures me so entirely, which is probably good since it would dominate most of my time and I would not be able to get much done! I am not as bad as I used to be, lately it seems I clean and organize way more than I read (wish it was the other way around).

When I want to relax I usually get into a good book which seems to have helped my stress level reduce and as a side benefit has also helped increase my vocabulary. Typically I will read an hour or more a day when time allows, lately it has been less. Now that I can have my books with me anywhere I go by having my kindle application on my cell phone and tablet it has become much easier to read. Reading on the kindle verses in a regular book at my age, now that my eyesight has dwindled; is more convenient because I can enlarge the font and still be able to read the words easily without having to put on my glasses. In addition, it is nice to be able to hold the phone with one hand and flip pages with just the twitch of a thumb instead of requiring both hands to hold a heavy book up and get strain on the neck and wrists as I try to get it into a position which does not cause discomfort. Not to mention I can now listen to them if I want to instead on my tablet, my phone, my TV, in my car on my Bluetooth noise cancelling wireless headset which I use for my computer, phone and car.

Technology does have its benefits, however one thing I do miss is having all those books I read accumulate and be placed on a bookshelf to save; there is nothing like looking at all the books I read on a shelf and the feeling of accomplishment and pride. When I would look at each book I could remember the story within each one, the character names and the personalities of each. It was as if the color of the cover and the title on the outside somehow gave the book itself a life of its own for me.  Now I have to settle for looking at the number of books I have in my kindle library and reaching for that same feeling of accomplishment and pride, it doesn’t quite work as well, especially since Kindle changed how they do things.

Many years ago I became a grandmother and now have five beautiful grandchildren which I have bought many books for. It seems in these days many young parents don’t have time to read to children. The invention of books where you can record your voice reading the pages and it plays when the child turns each page was absolutely wonderful! How ingenious! Needless to say that was the present I bought for each of them on their first birthday for the first three, however technology outpaced the next two grandchildren. With tablets and E-readers becoming so inexpensive each of my grandchildren have their own I-Pads by age of 18 months old (I will neither admit to buying nor not buying these or approving or not approving of this). They are all adept at using this particular piece of equipment, however they do not seem to use it to read a book (not surprising).

So when the grandchildren come over to the house and they want a book read to them at bedtime, I am very happy because there is still nothing that can compare to the interaction of holding my grandchild on my lap or having them snuggled up next to me both of us tucked up in a fuzzy blanket and reading them a book with an animated voice as I introduce them to the wonders of a real book, with real pages as they listen enraptured while the story unfolds and once again the tradition of reading a good book is carried on.

For useful information related to child development and parenting you can follow the link below. Remember they are always changing and growing, all children are different and you know your child best. We were told my grandson had Pervasive Developmental Disability by age 1, by Age 2 he was diagnosed with Severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, by Age 7 he is reading on a High School level. Accomplish what you want to.

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/facts.html

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