From Dr. Jane's Notebook

The therapeutic power of reading

Iíve never been a fast reader. Iíve never had great reading comprehension. Sometimes I read and re-read pages just to follow a story line. Iíve never thought of myself as a person who loved to read. So imagine my surprise that over the years, reading has become a great passion of mine.

Its not hard to remember learning to read in school. Most of us kids squirmed in the chairs of our little reading circle, dreading the moment of our turn to stumble over words out loud. The closer it came to my turn, the faster my heart would beat. Naturally, the sounds from my chest usually got so loud that Iíd lose my place just as the teacher called my name. For me, the reading circle became the equivalent of getting up on stage for a major performance, complete with weak knees and a voice that was never loud enough.

In spite of my initial trauma, I eventually found a lot of pleasure in reading. Needless-to-say, I consider this to be a major victory after a hard-fought battle. As a result, I feel compelled to encourage children and adults who remain stuck in their fear to learn about reading all over again. Please join me for a few more thoughts on the matter.

Likewise, I highly recommend giving the following gifts to people you care about: Read books out loud to your family on car trips; read to those who are sick and bedridden; and offer to read to those who are visually impaired. Reading together can provide wonderful shared adventures, discussions, and bonding experiences.

In recent years, Oprah Winfrey has encouraged thousands of TV hounds to take time for themselves and read a good book. To her credit, she has shown many adults that it is never too late to learn to read and that the rewards which come from reading are plentiful. Just think, when we read we get to travel, grow from new experiences, and explore the entire world without leaving our homes. Can anyone deny how good it feels to put a book up on the shelf when weíve finished it? Even better is the feeling when you recommend it to a friend!

©Copyright, 2001, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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