Do you ever have the feeling there's a WASKET in your BASKET?

Image result for vintage disney book of the month club       Image result for vintage disney book of the month club

Image result for vintage dr seuss book of the month club  Image result for vintage dr. seuss book green eggs and ham  Image result for vintage dr. seuss book there's a wocket in my pocket
Today we here at the JOYsisters are kicking off Read Across America in conjunction with the birthday of beloved children's book author Theodor Geisel {AKA} Dr. Seuss. There were not many books in my home during my childhood years. Somewhere along the way, someone signed me up to receive a book a month from two different book clubs. It was likely my Grandma Soldan, since she herself participated in many such "__________ of the month clubs". She had decorator plates, photography books and a huge collection of salt and pepper shakers (not from a monthly club, as far as I know!). Anyway, I had a set of Disney classics as well as a set of Dr. Suess books. I loved Green Eggs and Ham, There's a Wocket in my Pocket and In A People House is pretty much the best book ever!!!! I can pretty much recite all three, to this very day! Due to the fact that the selection was slim and they belonged solely to ME, I read and re-read those books over and over. I kept them neatly on the bookcase shelves whenever I wasn't reading them and was so happy to have them in our home. They are one of my few very happy childhood memories. 
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I was an early reader, but somehow did not pick up a chapter book until I was nearly 8 years old. I remember taking money to my school's book fair and very carefully choosing a book. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. I also bought a bookmark. I brought that book home, curled up in a chair and read until I was done. I was hooked. I went to the school library to track down anything else by that author. I still love Stewart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, even though my daughters all think that all three books are weird!

Many of my favorite childhood memories are of books I read, favorite reading spots (the rafters of my grandparent's garage and a house in Vallejo, CA that had the BEST reading tree ever), discussing books with adults, perusing the library shelves for new material, ordering books from Scholastic book orders, book fairs and bookstores. 

I began working and volunteering as a reading tutor to younger children when I was in the 7th grade. I have helped adults that could not read a phone book make appointments and once when my second daughter told me that she "didn't have to learn to read because Auntie Salena doesn't know how and she has a job" I brought our mini-van to a screeching halt, turned that car around and started honking the horn before coming to a complete stop in my sister's driveway, handing her a book so that she could indeed set the record straight for my four year old! Literacy is a big deal for me. I am pretty passionate about it. 

Earlier this week I reasoned with a fourth grader that reading is one of the most important things he will ever need to know and the more you practice, the easier it gets. I now work as a substitute special education para educator for our local schools. I see many children that will make it to adulthood without being able to read beyond a 1st or 2nd grade level and some, not at all. Their options for jobs, housing and life in general will be limited. Some of these individuals will live in group homes. Some will end up in the "system" in some form or another. Some of this can't be prevented, but some absolutely can. If you have children in your life, whether in your home, your neighborhood, community, church, etc.... do me a favor. Read to them. Buy them books. And really you are serving them, yourself and community as a whole. It really is that whole "teach a man to fish" parable. 
Teach a child to read......and to love reading and you will be blessing generations to come. {hh} JOYsister Heather


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