My first-grade year was very disrupted by one teacher after another quitting.  One broke her leg.  Another had some kind of mental breakdown.  I don’t know what happened with the others.  I didn’t think we were a particularly difficult class though I do remember one poor little girl that I’m sure had an unrecognized learning disability.  Every day she was taken back to the “cloak room” and spanked by the teacher, as any noncompliance was seen as misbehavior.  Even as a six-year old, I could see something was patently wrong in this situation.

            Because of the inconsistent teaching, I was not learning to read.  My distressed mother bought a collection of little toys and put them in a bag.  Every time I read a book, I could pick something from the bag.  Then came the day when I asked for my prize.   When my mother said there would be no more prizes I wasn’t upset.  By that time I recognized that reading had become its own reward.  I have always felt sorry for folks who have difficulty reading or simply don’t like to.

I recently came across information about the benefits of reading aloud.  A recent study from the University of Waterloo found that you are more likely to remember something if you read it out loud, that speaking text aloud helps to get words into long-term memory. Dubbed the “production effect,” the study determined that it is the dual action of speaking and hearing oneself that has the most beneficial impact on memory.   

Another study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the brain lights up the same way when you read to yourself as when you read aloud.  The Waterloo study, however, emphasized that learning and memory benefit from active involvement.

Reading aloud to oneself is not something I had considered.  I enjoy reading to my grandchildren and to my spouse on long trips.  The closest I come to reading aloud to myself is when I sit on the porch and “preach to the birds,” (practice my sermon prior to preaching on a Sunday 😊).  But I do enjoy even that.

         In this age when there are so many digital devices in which to engage, reading remains fundamental to our growth and enrichment.  Consider sharing in the reply section of this blog something you have read recently that you enjoyed or found meaningful in some way. And happy reading! 😊

May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.

          Shalom, Kate

Hope’s Café Bonus:  Curl up with a good book and enjoy some Spicy Hot Cocoa: To make two mugs:  Place 2 c.  whole milk and 1 T. brown sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in 5 oz chopped semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips work, too!), ½ t. vanilla extract, ¼ t. ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground chili pepper.  Allow the spices to infuse for 5 min., then return saucepan to low heat until it simmers.  Strain and pour into mugs, then garnish your cocoa with whipped cream, a pinch of cayenne and a cinnamon stick stirrer.