Reading Can Change Your Life ...
Upon completion of the second grade, I
was sent home with a note to my mother informing her that I would have to
attend summer school to improve my reading skills. I did not want to go
because Mrs. Cousins was a tough, demanding teacher and I was supposed to
be on vacation. But my mother made me go and so I did. By summer's end a
minor miracle had occurred. Mrs. Cousins had taught me phonics. For the
first time in my life it was possible to figure out how to read and
pronounce words by myself and reading wasn't something scary that made me
The following summer I began reading
Robinson Crusoe. I was a painfully slow reader but determined to read
my first book cover to cover. It took several hours a day, every day, all
summer to complete that book but I achieved my goal. I began checking
books out of the library, usually five or six at a time, never finishing
more than one and always returning them late. But I read and read and
At thirteen I started wearing glasses to
correct near-sightedness and astigmatism. Still an extremely slow reader,
I enrolled myself in an adult, night class on speed-reading. In six weeks
I went from reading 50 to 250 words per minute. About that time, our local
newspaper ran a series of articles on Amelia Earhart and I read every one
of them and so discovered my first hero. Reading opened my eyes to the
world of adventure.
After college I began a career as a
respiratory therapist. Inspired by other people's stories I read in books,
I began having my own real-life adventures - hiking, sailing, and dog
mushing. At forty-four, after reading Across Arctic America, I
decided it was time to have my own really big adventure by retracing the
journey described in that book. At forty-six, I did it! My dogs and I
traveled 2,500 miles alone across the arctic.
Now I earn my living speaking and
writing. Learning to read changed my life and has given me years of
education, entertainment, and adventure. Still a slow reader, I sometimes
read kids' books about adventures and biographies just for the pleasure of
reading an entire book quickly and easily.
Thanks to Mrs. Cousins, a pair of glasses
and a speed-reading course, I can read well. If you or someone you know
has difficulty reading, seek help, find out what's wrong and try to fix
the problem. Reading can change your life, too.