A few years ago I had to write an essay on the things that had influenced Language Arts in my life. Afterwards, I was thankful for the many influences that had affeccted me positively.
I have mentioned before that my Dad read to us at night. I still remember, as five little girls squeezed in close to him, the smell of a mixture of sweat and wood chips from his day's labor. To this day I can still smell the same thing with warm feelings and fond memories.
We read many of the classics, including poetry. As I've said before, they are a great blessing to me now. It gives me something worthwhile to remember and rehearse when I can't sleep at night.
Though it was usually my Dad who read to us, my mother listened to me read aloud every day after school. I remember sitting on the red couch with her and reading from my Dick and Jane book. I loved Dick and Jane and especially their little sister, Sally. I still remember when I learned to read the word "laugh", truly an impressive word.
One Christmas must have been particularly good in the typically "up and down" construction business. Besides getting the "bride doll" I had wished for, we got lots of books. We got the complete set of Brittanica encycopedias as well as a set of Science books, and volumes called "Lands and People". From then on, whenever I had question, my father took me to our books for research. Sometimes I was sorry I had asked. Passing by the living room an hour or more later, I would find my father still reading something that had caught his attention.
When I was in third grade we lived in the country near Star, Idaho. I loved to read. I would steal a flashlight under my blankets so I could read at night. I would read on the landing of the stairs or hidden in our apple tree until my exasperated mother would find me and remind me of forgotten chores. Still, she took us every Saturday to the Bookmobile, parked at the Star Mercantile, to check out more books
When I was in Junior High we lived in British Columbia,Canada. Television had not yet come to our tiny town and my Dad still read to us. Now classics for older readers broke the walls of the room. My sisters and I put on plays in the hayloft of the barn. Sometimes we had an audience of my Mom and Dad but most of the time our audience was the complacent cows.
When my children were in elementary school, each got to choose a book and we would read it together at night. Ben was in high school and didn't have much interest in novels. Most of the time he read the encyclopedia. I would catch him, however, when I read to the girls, listening around the corner. Josie chose to read "Little Women", Sara chose "The Life of Helen Kellar" and Emily chose "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Emily also read "Emily's Runaway Imagination" by Beverly Cleary with her Dad.
I don't think my experience can be replicated exactly, but I enjoy reciting poems together with my grandchildren. All tell me about the books they are reading and sometimes I read the same books. I am impressed with their parents and how they encourage their children according to each's own personality and need. .
I believe that reading can unlock the doors to any thing you do in life.