Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
We had a miraculous night in our home recently. Our 7 year old son finished reading his very first chapter book!
I can’t describe how full of pride I am over his accomplishment, and how exceptionally excited I am for him. You see, reading hasn’t come easy for him. It’s taken the work of some very patient, amazing teachers and instructional aides to get him to this point.
As an avid reader myself, watching him struggle has been difficult. Not because he so desperately needs to be a reader in order to be successful in school (which, yes, is undoubtedly true), but because I want him to be free. Free to escape into magical worlds, into untold mysteries, into …well, into wherever, whenever he chooses. Reading is the only true escape for me. The only way to leave reality behind and to slip into a parallel universe where time stands still for me while proceeding for the characters that grace my pages. Books, for me and many others, are more effective than any pill, drink, etc. And I so very much want my children to have the ability to escape reality in this positive, rewarding, and safe manner.
I vividly remember finishing my very own first chapter book, The Seeing Summer by Jeannette Everly.
It was the book that opened the door to freedom for me; after that, there was no stopping me…even if it meant sneaking under my covers with a flashlight to get in just one more chapter. Now, as an adult, I still maintain my reading ritual to shift from the hectic busyness of the day into the calm of the night. But these days, my favorite reading moments are with my son. Curled together in his bed, we are making our way through his first series of books and I simply can’t get enough of hearing him work his way through the adventures. His pronunciation, inflection, and comprehension get better and better. I don’t know exactly what I am more proud of—my son’s actual accomplishment of reading or his excitement and eagerness to do so. Hearing him ask me if he could read “just one more chapter” for the first time is one of those special moments that I will keep with me forever.
Yes, honey…you can always read just one more chapter.