Loving Literacy

Perhaps my overanxious Mother jumped the gun worrying about her illiterate five-year-old when she taught me to read before I went to school. September 9 is National Literacy Day. Most of the time, I take literacy for granted. I forget to be grateful for Mama and the teachers who built on her foundation, teaching me to appreciate the beauty of words well placed, to seek deeper meanings below the surface language, and to analyze the validity of the opinions expressed in writing.

On my recent trip to England, inability to read and write was one of the continuing themes as we visited cathedrals. An intricate clock at Salisbury Cathedral held no meaning to us since there was not a face with numbers. The mechanical operation activated a bell to mark the time.  The guide explained that the chimes told time since the vast majority of the people could not have read the numbers. As time-obsessive as I am, I couldn’t imagine not knowing how many more minutes were left before the hour.

The front of the Wells Cathedral is about twice as wide as it is high. The entire story of the Bible is told in the statuary carved into the facade. In the days when it was built, the parishioners could not read or write. This gave them a way to know the Bible stories.

On this National Literacy Day, I am celebrating by paying attention to some of the things I read for which I am indebted to Mama and good teachers.

•    Morning quiet time readings to start my day
•    The newspaper – news, comics, football scores
•    Recipe for a new dish for supper
•    Directions and warnings on the medicine bottle
•    My “To-Do” list
•    Facebook entries
•    Instructions on the new iPhone [not fun, but I am glad I can read them]
•    Map directions
•    Clever thank-you notes from a sixteen-year-old granddaughter and a fifteen-year-old grandson
•    A book or magazine to close the day and bring on drowsiness – much better than a sleeping pill

I invite you to celebrate with me by making a list of your own. You may start with this blog if you like. ~:o)