My older son has been reading for nearly a year now. I just saw the entry in his school reading journal from January 20th of last year. It’s remarkable how far he has come in the past year–from not being able to read beyond making the sounds of each letter to plowing through his early reader books. I’m so proud of him!
But this isn’t an entry just to brag about my boy; no, it’s about the vistas that open up to us in reading. He’s on the cusp of those vistas now. He can’t quite see the grand sights, but we occasionally get glimpses. Whether it’s laughing at Kipper and Biff (who came up with these names?!?) or eagerly turning pages to find out how Zeb escapes the stormtroopers, he’s beginning to see the joys that await us through reading.
I’ve been enjoying reading for so long that I can hardly remember what it was like before, but I used to hate reading. Hated it! I just wanted to play with my G.I. Joes or go out and play baseball. None of this reading nonsense! But then I found fantasy novels in seventh grade and just like that, I was hooked. It was quite a turnaround. From despising reading to staying up far past my bedtime just to see how Drizzt and Wulfgar would make it out in one piece.
I’m looking forward to when he gets there–when stories capture his heart and mind, because I can see it happening every now and then. When that day comes I hope he’ll want me to read Lewis and Tolkien to him, Harry Potter and Roald Dahl, but when it comes down to it, I’ll read anything he wants so we can enjoy it together.
It’ll be fun when it happens, but for now I’ll help him along with his early readers, knowing they are preparing him for a lifetime of laughter, excitement, joy, and transformation. Their simple words are casting a spell that will stengthen with age, unlocking the doors of imagined worlds and beckoning us in, inviting us to see worlds both wondrous and strange.
Those days are coming. And I can hardly wait.