The Importance of Sharing a Story

March 10th, 2011 by Terra | Filed under News, Reading & Recommendations.

I have been thinking a lot about reading and writing this week, after news that both Reading is Fundamental and the National Writing Project have recently fallen victim to slashes in government spending. Which is why I was really honored when my friend (and awesome illustrator, and fabulous literacy advocate) Elizabeth Dulemba asked me to participate in the “Share a Story, Shape a Future” campaign.

Elizabeth’s theme for this campaign is “How I Fell In Love with Reading,” which is an easy thing for *me* to talk about, because me and books? We were love at first sight.

Now, I know that normally these “love at first sight” romances don’t last for very long. They may be deep and passionate at first, but once you get down to the nitty gritty day-to-day stuff (like folding each other’s laundry and picking up [insert embarrassing drug store purchase here] for one another), sometimes the glow can fade.

But not me and reading. Or writing for that matter. No, we’ve had a long, in-depth relationship that has spanned three decades now, and doesn’t seem to be cooling down.

How did it start? It may have been when, on the day I came home from the hospital, my father sat down and read a book with me. Or possibly when my mom entertained my infant self by reading aloud, sometimes even the junk mail. I’m not sure exactly when my baby eyes managed to focus enough to understand what was going on, but by the age of 4 I had already been exposed to enough great books to want to tell my own stories. So I’d dictate them to my mom, who would type them into her typewriter. By kindergarten I was a four-books-under-the-pillow-at-naptime champ, and reading together before bedtime was a family Have To.

Over the last many years, my relationship with reading and writing has followed all kinds of amazing and unpredictable paths. It has brought me enormous joy, incredible frustration, and all the other intense feelings you would possibly want to have in life. Reading has been my most faithful, inspiring, exciting, fulfilling, educational, (and, yes, sometimes romantic) partner. (Which is no slight to my husband, but, I mean, he and I have only been together for five years.)

But I was lucky. I got introduced to reading when I was really little. I’ve had my entire life to develop and explore my relationship with it, which is why it’s grown to such richness. And which is why the news about NWP and RIF saddens me greatly; I think about all the kids who might not even get introduced to books, and I want to do something.

Because sometimes falling in all-consuming, life-changing love is as simple as being in the right place at the right time, right?

One Response to “The Importance of Sharing a Story”

  1. I’m with you on the loss of funding for RIF and NWP. Books can save and make lives and should never be underestimated.
    Thanks for participating in Share a Story!

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