My earliest memory of books is sitting on my mother’s lap as she read to me when I was a very young child. The book I remember most was about a puppy that got lost. Every time my mother got to the part where the puppy became lost, I would cry. I felt so bad for it. What would the puppy do? What would happen to it? Would someone find it? I had heard the story many times. I knew it would have a happy ending. I still cried. My mother would comfort me, but I always felt the puppy’s loneliness and fear. I was overjoyed when it was found. Literature can have a powerful impact on children and their lives.
When teaching reading, I would often have my students write their personal responses to the piece of literature we had just read. I marveled at the uniqueness of their responses. Students made connections to their own lives, to other stories, or to the world at large. Their responses led to wonderful, thought-provoking conversations and questions. Our discussions were thorough. They delved into aspects of the story not covered in the Teacher’s Guide. They elevated thinking to higher levels. The impact of the stories became evident.
Literature can help children understand the world around them. It can educate, inspire, and comfort. It can broaden perspectives and bring humor and joy. It can help students believe in themselves and understand their feelings. The list could go on and on.
What are some of the books you read as a child that had an impact on your life? What was the impact? I’d love to hear how a story or poem or informational text made a difference in your life.