My mother had been a school teacher before she married, and she convinced me when I was about three years old how much fun it would be if I read to her! She gave me a few lessons in phonics, and I was on my way. She would go about her chores in the kitchen or the upstairs rooms while I droned on from the couch. We'd go to the children's section of the library at least once a week in the summer and check out the maximum number of books allowed. And we had a set of John Martin's Big Book--seven volumes of John Martin's delightful poems and rich illustrations plus fairy tales, mythology, Bible stories, simple stories for very small readers, and just plain nonsense that I waded through from beginning to end. When I entered first grade at the age of five, the teacher would pin a note to my sweater and send me up to perform for the 6th grade teacher by reading a sample of their texts for the big kids.
And my brother Gene and I used mom's phonics method to initiate my oldest niece to reading, too. Her mother wanted her to enter kindergarten before the teachers did, so she made an appointment with the school and brought along my niece. When they were seated in front of the teacher, my sister-in-law picked up a copy of the local newspaper, handed it to my niece, and said, "Read the first article for the teacher." My niece read, and she got into school early. She's now a librarian who blogs about her reading.
I love books, but now they've multiplied in my place to the point where I've decided to find new homes for a few bookcases' worth. This is a very slow process, since I keep finding wonderful books I haven't read for a few years, forcing me to sit down and read them again.
One book I found last weekend is a small paperback called Ten Fun Things to Do Before You Die, written by Karol Jackowski. If you like Dave Letterman's Top Ten lists, this is your book. The ten fun things is a list, and at the top is "Have More Fun than Anyone Else." In case you don't know how to have fun, the author has another list: "Four Ways to Have Fun," and number #1 is "Find Fun People." The author helps out here, too, in case you need help recognizing fun people. She tell us "what to watch for": "Good appetite, interesting work, good storyteller, slightly twisted humor, fresh insight, and brave choices." All of my good friends have great appetites. I've never trusted anyone who doesn't love to eat.