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Readin’ + Writin’ = Livin’

The year is 1968.
A middle class family of five ‘ mother, father, three daughters and a baby on the way ‘ has just finished eating chili for supper on a cool autumn Saturday evening. The table is cleared, the dishes done, then it ‘s bath time for the three girls. Once jammies are on, hair combed and teeth brushed, the two older ones sit on the floor to watch one more half hour of television. Mom gently sits down on the sofa, and props her tired feet up on two pillows. The youngest goes to her bedroom, gathers her favorite Golden Books and teddy bear with the brown matted fur, then sits with Dad in the cushy rocker for one more story, maybe two. She twirls her damp curls and listens to him read of Snow White, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang and Wally Gator.
Though Mom read to me more than Dad did, I remember those cozy Saturday evenings right before bedtime. I believe my love for reading began in that rocker, sitting on my dad’s lap. Reading was always important to our family. I believe it helped make each of us who we are today.
Growing up, I remember my parents reading the newspaper every night. Sometimes when I thought they were ignoring my important life-questions, I would resort to tapping, no hitting, the spread-out pages to get their attention. Today when we visit Mom and Dad, I’ll spot copies of The Republic and The Indianapolis Star on the kitchen table, the piano bench, or beside my dad’s recliner where he naps. When I lived at home, I had no doubt they read their Bibles. Their faith is now more evident with The Upper Room and Guideposts on every end table alongside books about prayer and miracles. (My mom was diagnosed with ALS just a year ago.) Mom loved to cook and tried many new recipes from articles she’d read in magazines and newspapers. My oldest sister read books, lots of books; my other sister purchased a Tiger Beat magazine every Friday night at the Scot-lad grocery store. My brother ‘ well, my brother played with his G.I. Joe and Evil Knievel dolls more than he read. But he went on to college, and graduated with the highest degree of anyone in my family ‘ go figure!
My point in relating this nostalgia is simply this: Reading is the doorway to learning and living. Not only does reading teach us, it entertains, cultivates, instigates and motivates. It is the glue that holds so many pieces together. Reading brings busy families together. Reading can spawn discussion between parents and children, co-workers and bosses, even between two strangers who would have otherwise sat speechless while watching their tires being rotated and balanced. Reading and writing are a necessary form of communication and expression in our technical, electronic modern world that too often pushes it aside as an unnecessary, as if it were out of date, pass’.
O’Bannon Publishing Co. has a program in The Corydon Democrat called Newspaper In Education. With the help of caring businesses, we are able to print educational and entertaining series geared towards our younger readers ‘ Mega Skills, 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet, Everyday Heroes and Kid Scoop. We also have a Youth Forum! essay contest in which seventh through 12th graders in Harrison County can compete for publication. More importantly, every Wednesday, nearly 400 copies of The Corydon Democrat are delivered to every classroom in Harrison County.
As you read your copy of The Corydon Democrat each week and see these NIE series, appreciate the valuable learning tool you’re holding in your hands. Share your knowledge as you share your newspaper with your children and/or students. Learn and read about Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller and other important American Heroes together. Stress the importance of telling the truth and when to stand up to bullies at school. And remember this: they should be exposed to the other stories, the one’s you read. Help them learn how our local government works, to know what new businesses have come to town, how much allowance they’ll have to save to buy that used bicycle for sale, and let them read what they’ll have for lunch next week! While reading, they will also see photos ‘ snapshots of people shoveling snow, the game winning 3-point shot of your favorite basketball team, and maybe someone wearing clothes from long ago. They might see a photo of someone who has been arrested and learn valuable lessons about the consequences of breaking the law.
Last week we celebrated National Newspaper In Education Week. A big thank you goes out to our sponsors, the teachers who actively participate and use our newspaper in their classrooms, and to parents who subscribe, read and share the stories we deem important enough to print.
We encourage you to celebrate with us by making reading more important in your life this week, this month, this year ‘ this lifetime. Set limits to TV time, encourage the kids to give the PlayStation a rest. Sit back. Relax. Enjoy the quiet. Read. There is nothing else like it, is there?