Teach a Child to Read, and Open the World

I was nominated for the Tell a Story Challenge, using the picture above, which immediately tickled my writing bones. Here is my take, and yes, I have done quite a lot of writing today. Blame it on retirement!

I watched my two sons in their new hats walk towards the fields. When I had bought Matthew the orange hat, Charlie had to have one just like his big brother, his idol, but his favorite color is blue. They left to go do their farm chores, and I reminded Matthew not to get caught up in a book and forget his duties, something he did a lot.

When the boys had not returned after three hours, I started to worry some. I thought it’s probably because Matthew has his face stuck in a book and has forgotten the time. So, I went looking for them. Any mother with children knows how fast they can get up to mischief and lose track of time.

As I crossed the pasture, I stopped in my tracks, a smile of pleasure and joy spreading across my face. It wasn’t Matthew reading a book, it was Charlie reading aloud, with his brother’s help! Matthew looked quite proud of his little brother, enjoying the thrill of watching Charlie discover the pure bliss in reading.

It was such an extraordinary moment, because Charlie’s teachers warned his father and me that Charlie would not be promoted to the next grade because he didn’t seem capable of reading. I cried at the thought of him never knowing the love of reading.

We had tried everything from a tutor to computer exercises, and nothing changed for Charlie. We were abrupt and impatient, more out of fear for him than anything else. But, here in the middle of a field, his big brother, the one person he always tries to emulate, with the patience rarely seen a child, was teaching his little brother to read!

I called out to them to come and get their snack. As they reached me, I took them in my arms. I told Charlie how proud I was of him and that I now understood that he had just needed a patient teacher.

With tears in my eyes, I said to Matthew, “To read to someone is to entertain them for a few moments, but to teach someone to read is to give them the whole world. Thank you for your patience with Charlie. You did it!”

He smiled and said, “Thanks, Mama, I guess I love the little guy, after all. But he is still a pest.”

Fictional story written for the Tell a Story Challenge, nominated by The Haunted Wordsmith. What a honor! The rules are to write a story from the picture given. Then post a different picture and nominate three other bloggers to write a story for the picture you chose.

But, this is my second time being nominated, and I have already imposed the the few people I know who like this sort of thing. So, I am not going to nominate anyone. But, if anyone wants to take a stab at the same picture, be my guest.

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