Conductor of the Reading Railroad

Rainbow-Reading-RoundupIn my very first post, I mentioned my love of books especially old books, books which have lived a life far longer than my own. Before I could read, many of my favorite tv shows were simply the reading of books to illustrations or cartoons; I remember one where Maya Angelou read the books, and of course The Reading Rainbow (one of the most awesomest shows of all time). Thankfully, my mother encouraged reading (though at the beginning I didn’t have the easiest time) and my sister and I were always enrolled in the summer reading program at the local library. These were most certainly the light of our summers.Dowton Reno Library There were rewards, such as a free pan pizza or appetizer at a restaurant, for reading a certain number of books and reaching higher levels, and there were even little charts to follow. The charts were usually railroad tracks or something of that nature, but the one I remember the best was a trail of ants. At the time we lived in Augusta, Georgia and I remember going to the library with my mom and sister, and my mom having me sign my library card (I thought this was a huge deal). This was the summer my reading skills jumped by leaps and bounds, the summer which I read The Wizard of Oz. It was the summer before 2nd or 3rd grade and the book seemed to me to be huge, with beautiful illustrations. I drank in the words on the pages, and finished the story in a mere couple of days. I was so proud of myself, and the day we walked into Red Lobster to redeem my reward of a free appetizer felt like one of the proudest days of my life.

photo(19)Since then, I’ve always been an avid reader, sometimes completing novels in hours or a day. Reading has given me the gift of a large and diverse vocabulary, strengthened my spelling skills, and broadened my horizons. I love opening a new book, smelling that lovely book smell, and losing myself in the story for hours at a time. The characters appear, like visions, in my mind, and I can hear their voices speaking the words. After we moved to Texas, we looked up the library there, and I quickly went through any book of interest in the teen section. Scholastic Book Fairs were bittersweet as I ran my fingers over the glossy covers, but was lucky if I could purchase even one. By the 6th grade I was reading at a high school level, and it became very difficult to find anything of interest to read in the school library, and by the 8th grade I had gone through almost every book there was. Moving on to highschool was exciting! It meant a whole new library to choose from, a larger and more diverse selection of portals to another world. The library became my hangout, and I even spent two periods as a Library Assistant during my senior year. I got to “sample” the new books that came in, and spend 2 hours reading….during school!

During my college career I was normally too busy during the semester to read anything for fun, but I continued the summer tradition of weekly treks to the library. I learned to take a bag or back pack and I carted home 5-8 books at a time…which normally lasted the week. Opening that door, and seeing shelves upon shelves of books quickens my heart. Books can transport, calm, excite, inspire, sadden, inform, and entertain. Books can do anything, take you anywhere, and make you feel every emotion possible. The Nook will never replace the book!

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