Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reading is cool

So I know that most if all of you know that reading rocks. I think reading rocks so much that I volunteer at the library to read with little kids. Generally, the kids ages are 5 - 8 or 9. These kids rock. Today I had one of those days that showed me that what I do makes a difference.

Scene - Volunteer Dena walking around the children's book area at the library, putting books on top of the shelves so the kids can see them and take them down to read.

Enter short boy - looks to be somewhere around 6 years old (ish) who decides that the only thing he wants to play with is the covered electrical socket. Dena encourages him to NOT play with that. Short boy hangs around.

Dena: hey there.
Short Boy (SB) looks at Dena and says nothing.
Dena: would you like to read a book?
SB: no
Dena: why? books are cool.
SB: no they're not. I have this to play with.

SB takes out one of those pocket video games Nintendo DS or something or other.

Dena: wow. books are cooler than that.
SB: no they're not.
Dena: yes they are. wanna know why?
SB - looks at Dena and doesn't say anything.
Dena: because you use your imagination - reading helps you use your imagination
SB: you can use your imagination with this.
Dena: no you can't.
SB: yes you can.
Dena: no you can't

Evidently, SB doesn't know that I am the champ-een of "no it's not" - "yes it is"

This continues for a bit
Dena: have you heard of the Lorax?
SB: Dr. Seuss is for babies.
Dena: no it's not. I know some kids and adults who love Dr. Seuss. Do you know what happens to the Lorax?
SB: he dies.

Swear - that was his response.

Dena: no he doesn't. he wants to be tall. Do you know how he becomes tall?
SB: he gets high

Swear - that was his response and he didn't mean he stands on a chair.

Dena: no he doesn't.

O.K. so you get the idea...this goes on for another 20 minutes or so. Finally, I get his attention with another Seuss story and he decides he wants to sit down and hear it. We sit on the bench and for the next hour I ready any story he brings to me. I have him go find books each time. We chat about all kinds of things - who his best friend is and why his is his best buddy (because he lets me play with his stuff and defends me in fights). Fights? You're 7! What do you fight over? Who gets the purple crayon? Turns out the special ed kids call the non special ed kids names. He read to me - he's 7 and is a great reader!

Two other kids (girls) came over and we were all reading. SB had no plan to share me so he eventually went to find mom.

So, what's the story here? Why do you care about reading it?

There was an impact on this kid. Today's reading reminded me why I do it. Sure, I love seeing the kids and making them laugh - that rocks. But this is the first time I had a direct impact on a kid.

That was super cool.

Keep on keepin' on.

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