Sunday, November 4, 2007

On Reading

My dentist once told me that I was his only patient who never had to read their magazines. I brought my own books. I was always a voracious reader. I even slip a small volume or a Reader's Digest into a purse. At the rare times that I forget, I will read anything: menus, condiment ingredients (read: catsup bottles), brochures or posted company memos.

I got a set of books from Grollier in the hope of teaching my little kids to read. I liked the illustrations and was encouraged by the Parent's Guide. We read night after night. Then once when my eldest child was three, she started reading along. I thought it was a fluke. I got another book and she did the same thing. She was reading on her own!

When Gabriel was born, I took it upon myself to teach him to read. Call it serendipity but I got a copy of the same set of books at a local ukay. He is now reading proficiently at age three! I wouldn't know at what level he's reading, I'm just happy to get him going.

I'm sure there's tons of literature out there extolling the virtue of reading. As far as I'm concerned, teaching kids to read is a step to giving them their independence. Next: fostering their passion for books. Unlike music, television and film, each book teaches us at least one thing. Alexander Pope writes, "A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again." This quote is mostly overused and misunderstood. Read an infamous example of this at Carlos Celdran's blog to understand this.

A few years ago when I turned 4-0, I started getting farsighted. It was disorienting. Only when everyone insisted I get my eyes checked did I find out what was wrong. It was called getting older. I started reading again until even glasses couldn't help. I started blogging. I could see only the letters and glare of the monitor. Turns out, I'm now twice as farsighted. I won't give up the reading habit but nowadays I do it mostly online.

This is one of the more touching articles from the Digest. It's on a father that had never learned to read. Strange that I never forgot the title of the article and easily found it online. Read "My Father's Hands."

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