The Gift of Reading

11:17 AM

Every Christmas and Birthday, I write a message just inside the front cover, sign 'Love Aunt Colleen', wrap carefully, and watch as they rip through the paper. "Thank you, Colleen," Charlie says dully as she moves on. It is disappointing year after year know that my gift will not be the one that incites joy and excitement, but I know that in the next few months, that favorite new toy will break or grow old. Yet, the bedtime stories remain. Charlie will be six this summer and is learning to read. 'I see a horse. I go home.' Soon she will begin to seek out books on her own, beyond the mini library my family has created for her. She will discover new characters and adventures. I want to be part of this. So much of my childhood was spent in libraries and picking through the bookshelves at various relatives’ residences. The adventures they would take me on opened me to a whole new world of imagination. Mysterious fires, missing people, alternate worlds, magic, villains and heroines... I want to build bookshelves, a library of adventures for Charlie and, eventually, her younger brother to explore. I want to help influence a whole new generation. I want to expose them to the wonders of books. In this new age of technology, many experts seem to believe children will leave their books as soon as they can simply because the draw of tech is so strong. There are so many ways to interest children in stories of strong protagonists who could inspire them in their everyday life. We have to find other ways to access them though. I want to be part of that movement.

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