The Miracle of Reading

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I had another post prepared for today… but then a miracle happened…

I showed up at Tornado Boy’s house for two days of “Grammy Time.” Kindergarten doesn’t kick off until Tuesday and preschool ended early, leaving mom and dad in a lurch. When I walked in the door, I received my usual whirlwind of hugs, but the first question out of the tornado’s mouth was, “Do you want me to read a book to you?”

Not Legos, no request to build a spaceship or visit the park, no plea to use his old grammy as a jungle-gym. Nope.

“Do you want me to read a book to you?”

“Why, sure,” I replied, fully expecting a play by play narration through a picture book or a four-pager of his own creation.

I sat on the couch, and he climbed up beside me, tucked in tight, and opened Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop. Then page by page, he read me the entire book.

As I listened, I saw the world open up to him, a new superpower revealed, a lifetime of learning and adventure, of Treasure Island and Harry Potter, of Vonnegut and Cussler, Tolkien and Homer. He read to me slowly, sounding out the words, and he didn’t want my help when he got stuck. He was reading, and he too knew that something momentous was happening. He too recognized the magic in the letters and their sounds.

Just ask Jennie Fitzkee (A Teacher’s Reflections) about the power of reading aloud. We’ve read to Tornado Boy since the day he was born, and the local library has become a place of endless exploration. It’s paid off as another child discovers a world of imagination within his grasp, the miracle of words.

Grammy was so happy she could have cried. Then we played Legos, built a spaceship, went to the park, and wrestled. And he read Hop on Pop to me two more times.

Some favorite quotes about reading:

A book is a gift you can open again and again. —Garrison Keillor

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. —Victor Hugo

Books are a uniquely portable magic. —Stephen King

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. —Anna Quindlen

Wear the old coat and buy the new book. —Austin Phelps

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. —Jorge Luis Borges

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. —Groucho Marx

 

188 thoughts on “The Miracle of Reading

  1. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Learning to read.

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  2. What a wonderful story!!! I’m so happy he’s discovered reading. He didn’t just discover a “whole knew world” he discovered MANY!! 💖💖

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  3. Vashti Q says:

    Lovely post, Diana. It is always exciting when a child learns to read. Even a tornado can have a calming moment. 😉 Some of my favorite quotes there at the end. 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah says:

    Such a wonderful special moment, Diana! And thank you so much for sharing it with us. There’s so much magic to be found when a child discovers the world of the written world, I still know how it felt for me, like I could travel the world, conquer the unknown, ride on dragons… there was no limit to the world! And every time I open a book it’s just the same – endless wonder. 😄
    Love the quotes, especially the one by Phelps.😊❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know this feeling of love and sharing so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad this mirrors your experience. How wonderful. I hope that most grandparents, parents, and children have these warm moments of joy and wonder around books. Thanks so much for stopping by to read. 🙂

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  6. Teri Polen says:

    Diana, this is wonderful! I could have cried myself – such a wondrous world has opened up for him, and it will literally change his life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Teri. It was pretty amazing. I know that all (most) kids learn to read, but to see the excitement as all the little black marks on the page suddenly were imbued with meaning was truly magical. It was like we’d poured magic dust on the pages and they starting speaking. Ha ha. Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A celebratory milestone, indeed. Some quotes I like are: “A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” —Neil Gaiman.”The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” —Ursula K. Le Guin By the way, you might like my Summer Book Bucket idea for kids. I wrote about it in a blog post called, Summer’s Swan Song.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is not only a joyous anecdote about witnessing a young mind fall under the spell of reading, but it is an important reminder to all of us in the Information Age to read more carefully, even if that means reading less material. Great share, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. memadtwo says:

    That is indeed a magical moment! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jina Bazzar says:

    I left a comment here yesterday but it seems like spam is hoarding my comments again.
    So, again, while i was reading your post, i was thinking about my own kids. My family isn’t the reading type – i’ve always been the anomaly – and now my oldest, whose about to turn 12, doesn’t like to read one bit, but my two youngest, six and four are showing promise.
    I could see my daughter on your tornado, and you’re one lucky grammy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to check my spam folder, Jina. I’m sorry that it grabbed your comment – annoying huh? But thanks for trying again. 😀 I didn’t start enjoying reading until I was about 12 and read The Hobbit… so it’s never too late. And I know tons of people who were hooked by Harry Potter. Your oldest may not have found the right book yet to light the imagination on fire, though if anyone reads your book – that will surely do it! Happy Writing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Books are mirrors into our souls, bringing to surface our innermost desires and fears. There have been books that have been written as though they were specifically with me in mind. I know this is absurd. But if you write a book, you are inadvertently going to write someone’s life story in a realistic manner or the fantastical manner of symbolism and archetypes. You may very well get a “thank you for telling my story,” from a reader.

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    • It’s not absurd at all, Jonathan. There are books that change our lives just because we read them at exactly the right time that we needed them. Those are the one’s we remember and love for our whole lives. Great comment! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

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  12. Thank you Diana for this beautiful piece of writing. Very interesting it was! You bring to us mothers moments that are special. It is great to remember when we read books to our kids and how they also read stories to their mum. I still remember those days, as if it was only yesterday. I am glad to hear that you had some special moments with your grandson, aren’t they smart and clever? You reminded me of something I should write about, and share the pictures when my girl was young. Diana without you some of the things would be kept as “forgotten.” Thank you so much for this post. Have a nice weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I loved ‘seeing and hearing’ your grandson read to you. This is the kind of moment both of you will remember for the rest of your lives. Thanks for sharing it, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Daniela Ark says:

    Nothing like reading to your kids to bond with them! Those have been my favorite moments with my kids! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are wonderful moments, Daniela. And not only are they beneficial now, but the kids will carry those memories into their futures and likely read to their children. It’s truly momentous. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve always had a few books that I’ve held onto and read in different periods of my life. I think that the great thing about reading is that while you experience more things in life, you can relate to books differently. When I settle down and have kids I definitely want them to experience reading to the fullest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great comment. So true. There’s nothing better than reading a book at just the right time in your life, where it resonates and feels life changing. Those are the books that stay with us forever. It’s a blast to reread the old favorites to your kids – like living the magic over again. Thanks for the visit and have a great week. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ah, how wonderful! Our son texted last week that his oldest is reading books now. It was a stunning statement (2 weeks into first grade, only 2 weeks from our last seeing him.) I can’t wait to experience this with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay! Isn’t it amazing, Ellen? It really is fast like that. All the black shapes on the page suddenly make sense, and then there’s no stopping those little brains from plowing ahead. Just wait until your grandchild proudly reads to you…. it’ will knock your socks off with pleasure. Thanks for the visit and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Aw. This post gave me the warm squishiest inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You’re one lucky grammy and he’s one lucky grandson.

    Your post made me tear up a little.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. cath says:

    How lovely… as you say, Magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is precious, Diana! There’s something about listening to a child read when you’ve been reading to him. It’s like something clicks, and they realize they don’t need your help to explore books. You must have had a wonderful couple of days with Tornado Boy. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Joanne Sisco says:

    I love this so much! It pains me when I hear about people who don’t read or even worse, can’t read. They’ve never learned to tap into the magic. I’m thrilled for both you and Tornado Boy that he’s discovered the magic 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What a wonderful moment, beautifully told. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  23. So wonderful! A new world(s) awaits him indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Elisabet says:

    Love this, I have been rediculed for always carrying a book in my pocket and spending my allowance on books in my young years (7-14), then always asked for bookstore gift card… now my kindle is abused with its memory but I always enjoy the real thing a book in hand, a cup of tea and s coner to travel with my mind in those clouds of mine xx

    Liked by 1 person

  25. ljshouse2015 says:

    What a great post! He is so lucky. And I particularly like the Anna Quindlan quote.

    I remember in first grade being so excited when we copied a short exercise off the board and then read it as a group, and I thought, “Wow! I am reading!” and was so excited.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. What a sweet Grammy time you had with Tornado Boy. So happy for another child to discover reading. I love all the quotes. The one by Victor Hugo sure fits your post. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Val Boyko says:

    What a wonderful discovery, beautifully captured. Thanks for the smile and sharing the wonder 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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