Literacy Letter by Maggie L. ’24
Dear fellow Reader,
May I share with you some advice I have brought to you about reading? Now of course you may completely ignore what I have to say but I would prefer if you paid attention. This won’t be very long, so just listen.
A reader is someone who is brave enough to open the cover of a book, knowing that what waits inside could be a tragedy and are ready to be criticized and to rethink past actions. A reader is someone who can travel the world in one sitting. They are the people who learn to love, learn, cry, and fight with characters that are made out of ink. They are the people who are daring enough to explore new dimensions and look at those dimensions through another person’s eyes. A reader is someone ready to put aside everything they know to accept new knowledge. They will put aside their differences to connect with a person that never existed. A reader is one of the most powerful people in this world because they have access to thousands and thousands of leather-bound cubes of knowledge. Oh, and they also have access to hardcover books, which make very good weapons.
My journey started out rough. Like a small kayak being dragged down a waterfall rough. I hated books. No. I despised them. I despised the paperback covers, the tiny splats of ink, the complicated words. But one day, something clicked and I picked up The Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark, and I couldn’t stop reading. I hoarded the rest of the series shortly after and traveled from Ancient Egypt to Medieval Europe to Ancient China all in one sitting, learning a little bit more about each culture every page I turned. From that day on, I couldn’t stop reading. I read The Hunger Games, Throne of Glass, Percy Jackson, The Lord of the Rings, Call of the Wild, Black Beauty, Anne of the Green Gables, and finally, this past summer I finished Harry Potter (and liked it so much that I read the series seven more times).
Books can teach us what the world is like. They reflect on the author’s viewpoint of the world and is narrated through the characters. Books teach people right from wrong in the protagonist and the villain, but they also let us ask what if. What if the villain was just trying to avenge something in the past? What if he isn’t the bad guy?
Do you remember the little kayak I was talking about? The one being dragged down the waterfall? Well, now that kayak is a three-story ship, which refuses to give up and crash to the rocks below. I don’t know what that waterfall is for you. But I do know that the waterfall was life for me. It’s so easy to get swept away in this current world of electronic gadgets, glowing screens, and television. The books are my anchor. They are the things that keep me from drifting into who knows where and they are the encouragement for me to reach my goal. When I read, I realize, that I’m not the only person that has created my own unique characters that I cherish and love. I just haven’t told their stories yet. Reading reignites my goal of telling people, “Hey. Listen. I have a story to tell. A story of people that I love and that story is in the book you’re holding right there.”
I understand that a lot of you don’t like to read and that’s fine. I won’t judge. Everyone has their own reasons for reading and maybe you just haven’t found the right reason or the right book. Anyone can be a reader. No matter where you’re from, who you are, as long as you have the courage to open the cover, you can be a reader. So go sit down, pick up a book and read. If you don’t like the book, don’t force yourself to read it. For once, let your imagination run wild. Forget about the soccer game you need to go to or your dance recital. Even though you have escaped from reality, I promise that you will learn something new from the splotches of ink on paper. And I hope. I sincerely hope that they will be able to pull you out of whatever you’re going through. That the books will prompt you to fight. This wasn’t as short as I wanted it to be, and you’re probably bored. But I wish that you have been able to take something away from this. Even if it’s ‘this girl talks too much’.
Thank you for listening,