Supporting Literacy and the Reading Habit

Submitted by: Glynis Salmon

I don't know when it happened, I don't know how.
I don't know if it was the look... the smell… the touch… but I do know that when I got between the covers and opened up… I fell in love.

. . . and to think that I was only at the tender age of four or five years old. . . but as soon as my mind awoke to the ABC's and the Phonics of it all, I was in super-cali-fragi-listic-espiali-docious LOVE. I was um diddley-diddle-daah, the cat and the fiddle, tick-tock, the mouse ran up the clock - wonderfully, dreamily, excitingly in love. . . and I have never stopped loving the habit of READING ever since.
In fact, as I grew older, I fell even more deeply in love, developing a passionate, insatiable desire for reading, and I must admit, I indulge my taste in reading matter, most indiscriminately. I read every thing. . . the stories, the poems, the articles, the reference material, the academic enquiries, the how-to material, the motivational explorations, the religious discourse, the labels on a product… every and any blessed thing. Fiction and non-fiction, sense and non-sense, text books and general books, Playboy and the Bible, I read them all … morning, noon, and night . . . every chance I get.

I have fallen out of love, mind you - many times too - but not ever with a book. I have fallen out of love with company - boys and girls - the type who selfishly get upset with the light being on till odd hours in the morning; or get annoyed by the slightly-rustling sound of turning pages, and complain that I disturb their sleep, when in fact it is their complaints that disturb my reading. The said companions whom I have often had to look upon with a jaundiced eye, when they become unreasonable in their demand for my attention, at a time when I simply must, at the very least, finish the chapter (. . . which could, if I am clever, extend into many more chapters, before I yield, unwillingly, to their demands). Of course, by the time I close my book, in deference to their pestering, my belated welcome of their attentions is often greeted with a back turned to me in cold and frigid protest, or a mouth tightly scrunched in a pout of complaint.
Well… I can't deny . . . I LOVE TO READ. For when I first met Dick and Dora and Nip the dog, the three little pigs and Jeremy mouse; not to mention Jack and Jill, Little Red Riding Hood, The Wizard of Oz, fairies, elves and witches and other magical creations of my childhood literature . . .who could fault me for moving on to Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Marco Polo, Arabian Nights, Archie, Veronica and Betty and the journeys that led me to Around the World in 80 Days and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea?

Tell me, would you not celebrate, as the school years opened up pages and pages of literature, that had me delving into the realms of comprehension, critical analysis and the heights of literary consciousness, that propelled me to excellence in the subjects of English and Literature consistently, throughout my schooling?
Who among you cannot understand the therapeutic value of retreating from a hard day's work, to the creative imaginings, or the deep philosophisings, or the thoughtful research of an author?
Who it is that cannot appreciate the absolute joy and relaxation of being seated on the throne, in regal repose, releasing the mind to the subject matter of a magazine, newspaper or the label on the toothpaste or some other toiletry? Or conversely, the agony of finding yourself locked in the unfortunate position of retiring to the chamber without the appropriate reading matter to flush the mind with?
How can my one and only child not appreciate that she is my nearest and dearest - between one book and the next? Honestly folks, I don't understand. How can you not be in love? . . . In love with READING ?
How can you not want to travel the world and meet people, places and things in a first class mode of transport that is relatively inexpensive, faster than a concord and more exciting than a space shuttle?
How can you be sad, lonely or forlorn, when at the slight flick of a wrist, and a turn of a page, you can share the company of a counselor, motivator, healer, friend or a whole party of people and other animals?

I tell you, nothing satisfies my hunger more than reading, never mind how many snacks I may munch on in the process (. . . and If I could just remember that reading has no calories, I would forgo the treats and read my way to
slimness ) . . . but . . . life's like that and you can't remember everything.
Seriously though, I am in love and it is a serious thing. I love to read.

Reading for me is relaxing, energizing, fulfilling, learning, developing, sharing, reflecting, laughing, crying, searching, enjoying . . . an amazing experience of all of life's experiences . . . and the more I read, the more I want to read.
My only other desire is to summon up the discipline and the courage to immortalize my thoughts as an author in book format and catalogue my offering in the library of books available for all to read and enjoy.
Carlong Publishers (Caribbean) Limited sends a Cupid's arrow to your mind, knowing that once smitten, you will be twice, thrice and many times bitten by the wondrous love of reading.