Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bravery with a Book

As I was listening to my 7-year-old grandson read aloud to me this evening, the earnestness and intensity in his voice as he sounded out the words was a reminder of what a brave and audacious process reading really is. Those of us who have been reading rather easily for years may have lost sight of the thrill and fear involved in setting out for a trek through a book when you’re just a beginner. I could almost feel Noah’s nervous wholeheartedness as he stared at each word and worked out its meaning, almost as if he was hiking up a severe but spectacular mountain trail. When he was finished with the story, his smile and soft exclamations of pleasure told of a boy who had been on a brave adventure and come through. Later, as I was doing some reading myself, I sensed some of the exhilaration I saw in my grandson. I realized, once again, that reading words is as astonishing an act as anything a person can do. Each word was a door to somewhere strange, each sentence a set of wondrous signals. Just by understanding marks on a page I was wandering into other worlds, thinking surprising thoughts, feeling life getting fuller, sort of like Noah a few hours ago.

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