I remember my fifth-grade teacher, Miss Hudspeth, reading to us. While she held the book, her hair would fall in front of her glasses. I remember thinking I want to wear glasses and have my hair do the same thing. As soon as class ended, I would run to the library to find the book. Sometimes there would be an extra copy, and I could jump ahead in the story.
My love of reading started as a small child at the hands of my parents. As a parent myself, I remember the night-night stories told to my children. After the story, my kids would beg for another book, and their life-long passion for reading began.
Research shows children who are read to from a young age develop their language and cognitive skills at a faster rate, which increases their academic achievements. Executive Women International (EWI) cause of choice is literacy, and we participated with our yearly reading rally. Volunteers and children attended the reading rally at Pauoa Elementary. The 17 EWI volunteers came in various Halloween costumes from Mario, to a witch, to Cinderella. Joining us throughout the evening were 100 children participating in reading, coloring, and playing games.
At one table, the children could decorate a bag to hold goodies, another table hosted the coloring activities, and reading volunteers were scattered around the library sharing their storytelling abilities. The volume level increased as the excitement of the children rose, as well as from the candy they received.
As I read to one group of boys, one of them jumped up and told me all the characters shown in the picture. You could tell he loved reading and remembered information about characters from books. Memorizing is one of many skills developed in children through the simple act of reading. As the evening ended, each child took home a book donated by EWI, and each volunteer went home a bit tired, albeit feeling rewarded. Our EWI volunteers enjoy our yearly reading rally as much as the children and planning for next year’s event has already begun.
Being in the school library brought back so many beautiful memories of the books I immersed myself in as a child. These days I do wear glasses and wish I had more time for reading as we are never too old for a good book.