To me, the ability to read is the birthplace of hope. Children, when they learn to read, enter a new education - the education of the spirit. Learning to read opens the door to a school of the mind that allows a child full autonomy. I remember with full clarity how this incredible power made me feel when I first learned to read. I had the power of choice. I could choose what I read and when. I could walk about in the world and feel a sense of confidence that anything was possible. Reading empowers a child with the gift of choice - the choice to learn, to understand, and to grow. It also empowers the child with the gift of imagination - to see and to feel and experience things that once would have been beyond her power to see and feel and experience. Finally, it empowers and ennobles the child with the gift of empathy - to feel as others feel, and to understand their pain, joy, and circumstances. The gift of reading, and the gift of stories, is that they teach the most important lessons in life without seeming to. They don't need rules and regulations and stuctures the way a traditional school does, and yet they perform the task of educating us in ways that a traditional school never could. They educate us because they engage us in educating ourselves.
312th British Columbia