I can’t remember how I learned to read. I don’t recall the teacher’s patience to help me sound out vowels and consonants. Nor the prompts to form these sounds into words. Was I encouraged at home by my parents? If so, there’s no memory. That process disappeared with time. Yet, the gradual step by step building of my literacy worked. I’ve been a life long reader, taking pleasure from books equal to any experience I’ve known.
In fact, throughout my life, I’ve regarded libraries as sanctuaries. They’ve acted as safe harbors to which I retreat when feeling unmoored. For now, though, our local county library operates like a takeout restaurant. There are curbside services only. Its stacks are unavailable for browsing; the serenity of its reading rooms enjoyed only by mice.
In March, when schools closed due to the pandemic, my granddaughter was beginning the process of stringing together letter sounds into written words. Her enthusiasm was boundless. However, the classroom instruction detoured into a virtual experience. I expect her reading prowess will eventually flourish despite the interruption. Yet, pervasive uncertainty, one of the troubling consequences of the pandemic, leads me to wonder if, for some children, enthusiasm delayed may lead to enthusiasm denied.
Our little Oregon hill town of Hood River reports over 220 cases of the disease. Most have resolved, noone has died, and few need hospitalization. Nonethless, the positive tests indicate Covid-19 is present, circulating, and finding opportunity to spread. Public schools, due to open after Labor Day, plan to operate virtually for, at least, the first semester.
Elsewhere in the USA, the pandemic continues to hold sway. 1,000+ Americans die each day. Our nation’s uneven response to the disease provides fertile ground for growth. The White House plan for combatting Covid-19 is that there is no plan.
Decisions to open schools crumble as families fear for the safety of their children. Parents will not be bullied by what’s brewing in the cauldron of the president’s ego. Daily, controversies are ginned up to distract from the reality of his failure. Even my California cool 😎 is exhausted by the unceasing drama.
Meanwhile, I read to relax. Recently, my sister, a librarian in Milwaukee, WI, sent me two books, Camino Winds by John Grisham and Across the Great Lakes by Lee Zacharias. Grisham’s book adheres to his cash cow formula: all plot and no prose. What he does, he does well and I enjoyed the escapist fluff.
The other novel is a reminiscence of a child’s journey. It relies on vivid characters and dialogue. Readers experience a unique world with its own vocabulary and … words, beautiful words.
Until next time, here’s a new song.