SPH '21 - Gift(s)
Gift. The first word for this month's Scavenger Photo Hunt. And I immediately thought of "the Gift of Reading".
I was so lucky to have been given this gift as a wee child. As far back as I can remember, books and stories have always been an important part of my life, from the tiny toddler age when stories were read to me by family members, all through the teenage years when some form of escapism was needed, up to today where, again, some form of escapism is needed on many a dreary lockdown day. The Gift of Reading is not just about being able to distinguish those cute little black marks on the paper (or more often these days, the screen), knowing how to pronounce them and how to make sense of their meaning when put in any random combination and order. To me, the true gift is being able to hear a sentence or a paragraph, and build a world around it. To read a work of fiction, and let the landscape and people come alive in your mind. To bond with the characters of a book. To mentally wander along the path of the story and feel yourself "in" it. Of course, the extend of being able to do so does depend on the author's ability to create a world as well - but I've found that this kind of imagination comes with practise - the more you read, the more you allow yourself to get drawn into a good story, the more it fuels your imagination, and the more detailed your mental image of a fictional world and / or character becomes. Children who only watch TV will have a hard time developing this kind of imagination.
Books are an endless source of entertainment and wonder - and also of aquiring knowledge or even wisdom. I remember hours spent in the library, gathering information on a certain topic, and very often just because I wanted to know, to understand. And I still turn to books and keep stocking up my own library when it comes to learning a new task or perfecting one I'm already familiar with. Don't get me wrong, I love the internet for the many possibilities it offers when it comes to learning - I've subscribed to quite a number of online classes, and I've learned a lot from Youtube videos - but nothing can ever beat sitting down with a book and a cuppa.
"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift." - Kate DiCamillo
And here's a list of more than a hundred quotes about books and reading, most of which I totally, absolutely, whole-heartedly agree with.