The 2022-2023 school year is just starting. My grand-niece started kindergarten last week. I am excited to follow her journey as she learns how to read, write, sign her name, and all the other milestones that are ahead of her.
I remember the first books I read. They were a series called Dick and Jane. I don’t remember much about the adventures of these two children. They had a dog named Spot and friends named Sally and Puff. Unlike the books I read today, which vary from 600 to 900 pages, the Dick and Jane books were much shorter, containing only a few words.
Classic sentences like “See Dick and See Jane” started my journey of literacy. I’m not sure how long our class spent time with these primers before we graduated to thicker books with many more words. I do remember how I started reading the Sunday comic strips with my mom and older sister. They helped me sound out the words I didn’t know. In what seemed like no time, I was reading bigger and bigger books.
My eldest sister, who lived in New York, worked for a publishing company. She would send boxes of books to us. Some were discontinued works like A Rocket In My Pocket and Yours Till Niagara Falls. Others were more popular like Harriet the Spy and Bears in My Kitchen.
My parents were avid readers. My dad was a Louis L’Amour fan, and I think he read all of his books. My mom and older sister loved romance novels. After I discovered Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring trilogy, fantasy novels have been my favorite genre.
Not everyone reads well. Sadly, some people grow up never learning to read at all. Others struggle to read beyond a 3rd or 4th grade level. In our country, we take our education for granted. In places like Liberia, children don’t have the same access to basic education.
At the 2022 Michigan Annual Conference, a campaign to support education here and in Liberia was introduced. Each faith community is being asked to raise $600 to support this campaign. Details can be found on the Conference website and the link for information is below.
I hope you will prayerfully consider supporting the children of our Covenant Partner nation of Liberia, along with students near your faith community. Please visit the website often to see stories of how this campaign is transforming the lives of children in the United States and Liberia. And Amen.
Readers to Leaders information: https://michiganumc.org/missions/readerstoleaders/