A big hug fills us up and fixes everything. Love conquers all.
All we need is love.
Reading gives us far more than pleasure. It is the key to learning, and most importantly it helps us develop empathy. Reading does it all. Charles French, an English Professor, says it well.
I believe this topic to be important, so I wish to revisit it again.
I have previously written about the happiness of reading, a pleasure I hope everyone, or at least, most people experience. As I wrote before, I consider reading to be one of the main joys of life. Reading is one of the most essential and, at the same time, the most sublime of pleasures. Reading can take us places we have never been, tell us stories we have not known, and let us experience the lives of many other people.
In addition to the pleasures of reading, I also want to consider the benefits of reading. I think the first, and perhaps most obvious, value is that of education. Regardless of where the reading is done, or if it is for class or for self, all reading informs the reader in some way. As a Professor…
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My childhood dog, Rex, wrote a Christmas letter to his pal, Ani.
Mentioning the turkey epsode was a bad idea. It brought back all the memories of my little ‘accidents’ over the years. I pleade ignorance… I was young. How was I to know she wanted the turkey when she just left it laying around? Or the ham on the bone shed just cooked. Granted, the smoked salmon was in the frudge… as was the cheese… but if she wll leave the fridge open for people to help themselves, she can’t complain when they do.
That was a good Christmas! She just laughed… espeially when she realised I’d left my new tennis ball as evidence. That was the real accident on my part!
But, my new pal Rex has a much worse tale to tell. You have to be so careful at Chrismas. Anything can happen…
My name is Rex, and I love turkey, too. My two legged…
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Aaryan has been asking me for days to come into the classroom and be a guest reader. “Jennie, I have the book in my backpack. It’s the fish book. They’re red and blue. When can I come in and read?” He absolutely loved chapter reading when he was in my class. He was always glued to my stories, too. This morning I told Aaryan he could read to the children after snack, before we went outside to play.
And I forgot.
Aaryan didn’t forget. He appeared bright eyed and eager, with his book in hand, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. The children had finished snack. They had dressed in all their winter gear to go out to the playground to play. This was a pickle. I said, “Children, Aaryan is here to be a guest reader. Why don’t you stand by the door before we go outside. Aaryan, can you be on the rug in front of the children to read your book?”
Aaryan sat on the rug, opened his book, and read a few words. Children joined him on the rug. They wanted to be closer and hear him read. Never mind that they were dressed in snow pants, hats, and mittens. They didn’t care. They wanted to hear Aaryan read the story.
The more he read, the closer they got. Actually, they pressed in. Close. Very close. The only sounds in the classroom were the words being read. This is a long book, 62 pages. You would think that the children would be squirmy, hot and sweaty in hats and mittens, anxious to go outside. Not at all. The crowd simply grew.
It was wonderful. More than wonderful. The power of reading came full circle today. Thank you, Aaryan.
Outstanding quotations on reading from Charles French.
Fifty years. That’s a very long time. For a book to still be alive, vibrant, and read all over the world – fifty years later – is astounding. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, with a golden book jacket.
The caterpillar in the story wasn’t always a caterpillar. Initially it was a worm, and the book was titled A Week With Willi the Worm.
The editor wasn’t crazy about a worm. When she suggested a caterpillar, Carle immediately said butterfly, and the story was born. The favorite part of the book for children, also a nightmare for the publisher, is the five pages of fruit for each weekday – with a hole through the fruit. Carle’s inspiration came from using a holepunch at work.
“On Monday he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry.”
(The page with one apple is narrow- only 2 inches.)
“On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry.”
(The page with two pears is 4 inches.)
And so on, through Friday. Children love chanting the repeating phrase,
“…but he was still hungry”.
Today the book has been translated in sixty-two languages and has sold more than forty-six million copies. More than one copy of the book is sold every minute. Those statistics are mind boggling. Why is the book so successful? The illustrations are beautiful, especially the butterfly. The text is predictable, yet exciting. The story is really about life – being born, learning along the way with mistakes, right and wrong, and also the wonder of what happens when we emerge into the person we want to be. Isn’t that what children want to hear about? Aren’t those the important things? That’s what we need to read to children.
Eric Carle says the story is one of hope. “Like the caterpillar, children will grow up and spread their wings.”
The youngest of children enjoy the story, and so do older children. If you haven’t read the book in a while, I highly recommend it.
Happy 50th Anniversary to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.