The magic of reading

2011-04-01 00:00

THERE is a magical moment that occurs around the middle of the year, every year in a Grade 1 class. I have been married to a Grade 1 teacher for 20 years and the thrill of that moment always enchants me. It’s the moment that squiggles on a page suddenly, out of the blue, morph into words, phrases and sentences. The gates are open, and the child tumbles through into the world of reading and writing.

Last year it happened rather late. Sometime in August my wife said to me: “Last week it all clicked into place for most of the children.” Perhaps it was the hype around the 2010 Football World Cup, which created a five-week winter holiday. Whatever the reason, various teachers thought that the children were more restless, and less able to concentrate.

It is impossible for someone who has been reading for 50 years to imagine, let alone remember, what it was like not to be able to read; not to be able to make sense of the squiggles. The Greek alphabet and a Greek New Testament which I studied when I was at university were, I guess, a similar challenge. But I had mental tools and written- language experience by then to guide me through what was, well, Greek to me. For a child, the slate is clean. There are no links, no associations, only the frustration of knowing there is something there but not being able to find it. It must be something like looking at one of those busy patterns and waiting for a face or picture to emerge. I’ve seen crowds standing outside shop windows staring at those pictures. I confess, I’ve joined the crowds to no avail. Nothing has ever emerged for me. I stand there like a Grade 1 child staring at squiggles, longing for a teacher to make it work for me.

Of course, reading and writing skills are subjects of a vast treasure of sociological and developmental research beyond my ken. My wife would be able to tell me something of how it works, but I am content simply to watch from the sidelines, captivated by the enchantment of it all.

For some children it’s an easy transition, while others struggle. Some have their own difficulties to overcome and others have external pressures, but, in each one, God’s creative grace is at work. Hush, be still, a miracle is about to happen.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.