Pow! Zap! Bam! Read!
By Tim Linscott
As a kid I remember the show ‘Reading Rainbow,’ with Levar Burton and Cap’n O.G. Readmore on the weekend specials.
Even then I saw the irony of a television show encouraging kids to read. It just went against the medium as a whole, in my mind, but I am sure networks had to put forth some effort in fighting illiteracy, the thing TV unwittingly promoted.
I especially remember O.G. Readmore, who was a captain, however, it was spelled ‘Cap’n.’ Read more kids, don’t worry about spelling or grammar.
Speaking with Robin at the library here in Grant earlier this week reminded me of those shows. She quipped about her love of reading to my middle daughter, Olivia. Robin is particularly excited for the reading program this year as it deals with science.
“You know I’m a nerd when I get excited about things like this an adult,” she told me.
I was excited, too, as the summer reading program has always been very special to my family. My kids have always loved the crafts, the reading and getting to hang out with other kids.
This will be our first year in the Grant summer reading program, so it will be fun to have the kids experience all of this in a new town.
As a youngster I did not realize I was a bit of a voracious reader until I grew up and looked back at my reading habits.
My parents were both readers. They both read the paper each night and my father, a former Marine, read ‘Leatherneck’ and other magazines associated with his hobbies and interests. My mother was a reading addict. She read two to three books a week, many of which were romance novels.
Books were always around our home and my older brother, Jeff, was a huge comic book fan. He probably read two or three comic books a day and read graphic novels and science fiction.
At the age of five I was given some of his old Captain America comics he didn’t want anymore and, although I couldn’t read most of the words, I could follow the action in the illustrations.
It was then I began to read every single day. I would read his comics, when he wasn’t around of course, as being caught would have resulted in a concussion.
When I was old enough to get into Scouts I had a subscription to ‘Boys Life’ and would eagerly wait for it every month.
Dr. Seuss had a big impact on my reading development, as he did for millions of people around the world, as the illustrations and word play was just fun to read.
As I grew older I would save up my money and buy my own comic subscriptions or go to the local book store and grab a few issues a week. I didn’t consider comic books to be reading. Reading was sitting with a book with no photos and quietly reading.
For me, reading a comic book was acting out the action parts, using different voices to read out loud the panels and turning it into an adventure.
Now as an adult, that is fine to do when reading, be it a book, comic book or just about anything.
A turning point in my life was when my father read to me, ‘The Last of the Mohicans,’ when I was 10. The book meant a lot to him growing up and he wanted it to have an impact on my life as well. He would pause to explain certain parts and, at the end of the book, explained the concept of honor, duty and loyalty. He explained about how the color of your skin or your last name doesn’t mean much in dealing with honor.
It meant a lot to me and I have read it to my daughter, Adaline. I won’t know for sure if she enjoyed it or not or if it had an impact on her, but carrying on that tradition is important.
I encourage everyone to read and don’t be picky on the subject or the genre.
With the advent of superhero movies being so prevalent in the world today, I have had to break out some of my old comic books to help get the kids to read. As flashy as the movies are, nothing beats actually reading the original.