I don’t know what the future holds, but I will say people are still reading and writing. Bookstores are full of people buying books and talking about books. Book clubs abound. Kindles and Nooks are constant companions. Everywhere you look fingers are flying over keypads, texting. Somebody reads all those texts.
These days some parents are so eager for their little darlings to read they begin reading to them in utero. After thousands of hours reading to those babies and perhaps drilling them on phonics and sight words, mothers proudly present a reading kindergartener.
Not so with my mother. She had the weird notion that reading was best taught at school by teachers who knew what they were doing. When I entered first grade, no kindergarten in those ancient days, I didn’t even know my ABCs as my friend Kay did.
But Mama had prepared me well for school, not with reading and writing, but with talking. She had talked to me about the world I lived in. I could count money, tell time, and knew about everything I saw including the whys and hows.
My introduction to reading and writing was my long name the first grade teacher, Miss Perry, taped on my desk. It stretched all the way across the desk and was the first thing I learned to read.
Then Miss Perry placed a book, MAC AND MUFF, in front of me. On the first page was a picture of a little, black Scottie, and under it was the word Mac, the Scottie’s name. Then I met Muff the cat and began to read, “Mac and Muff. See Mac run. See Muff run.”
I was hooked on reading. I wasn’t bothered with the sounds of letters, just the words and their meanings. The sight of Mac brought to mind a little, black Scottie.
Recognizing words at a glance was an easy way for me to learn reading. Before long I was reading everything or at least picking out words in the newspaper, on cereal boxes, and in the books I read to Mama. She didn’t read to me, but she was a good listener.
I could hardly wait till Friday evenings when I could dig into Grandpa’s bag for the four books he brought me from the library every week. I was hooked on reading.