Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The gift of reading
All the time I hear people asking others about the person or teacher that had the most influence on them growing up. I certainly was influenced by my parents, relatives and teachers but for me the biggest influence was a book that I received for Christmas when I was 12 years old. That book is the one above called "I Pass" about New York Giants quarterback Y. A. Tittle. Growing up in a non reading family in a small town in Pennsylvania meant that my life choices would follow closely to the lives of many previous generations of my family. What changed that trajectory for me was that my grandmother purchased the above book for me one Christmas. I lived and died with my sports teams as a kid. I could name every Pittsburgh Pirate or New York Giant. And Y. A. Tittle was my sports hero.
After reading that book I searched our school and town library for other sports biographies and soon had finished reading the limited number of books at each library. When I mentioned to our school librarian that I couldn't find any new sports biographies she suggested that I try some of the other biographies of famous people. I found out that these other lives were as interesting as the sports figures I had read. One thing led to another and I started reading history books--for fun! Going from a non reader to a kid who always had their "nose in a book" broadened my world and introduced me to people beyond the small town in which I lived. Suddenly learning became enjoyable instead of drudgery.
So it is not surprising when I recently read an article in the New York Times recently that reported on a pediatrics group recommending reading aloud to children from birth to encourage child development. My children learned that Christmas gifts from Dad always meant lots of books. Now it includes the grandchildren. A childhood without books is missing a great element of childhood enjoyment. With this in mind the Friends of the Library have some great recommendations for buying books for children on your shopping list. Maybe there will be an "I Pass" impact somewhere in there for another child.
Y. A. started an insurance company in California after retiring. He used to go there every day in the recent past and fans would come every day to reminisce. I hope to do that one day.
Posted by duanestclair at 7:02 AM