I devour books.
Am convinced that I can't live without them.
Reading certainly contributed to my vivid and active imagination. After all, books can take you anywhere, in any time period. Growing up, we lived in an area where there weren't a lot of children and I was the only girl with three boys as playmates. More often than not, they wanted to do boy things and didn't want to be bothered with a silly girl. (Even if I did have zip up pants like my brother. I still remember my first pair-they were his hand-me-downs-and me telling everyone that I had zippers too, complete with zipper demonstrations. I was a weird little kid.) Through books, I joined the adventures of the Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Babar the Elephant, Brighty of the Grand Canyon and many, many others.
Growing older (and expanding my interactions with others) did not dissuade me from reading. If anything, I read more. Library books, dad's books, you name it, I read anything I could get my hands on. I'm pretty sure that my love of reading instilled a love of books in my kids as well.
Over the years, books have provided comfort, joy, peace, instruction, humor, sorrow, and growth. Some of my books are like my best friends and there are several that I read at least once a year.
However, I live in a state where the ability to read cannot be taken for granted. In the year 2000:
• 40% of Kentucky’s working age population (1 million) is at the two lowest literacy levels I and II – not being able to read at all or at very limited to moderate levels.
• Two-thirds of Kentucky’s counties have 40% or more of their working age population at levels I and II literacy; in 10 counties 50% or more of the working age population is at levels
I and II literacy.
• Low literacy levels of parents relate directly to the education of children and youth. Children of parents with low literacy levels are five times more likely to drop out of school.
I can't imagine not being able to read, or to read well. Books open the doorway to so many things. For that I am grateful.
“Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.”
- Hazel Rochman
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
- Mason Cooley