January 17, 2019
Friends of St. Stephen's Classical Academy,
"We are not reading books merely to check off a list or to be able to say we have read them. We are reading to grow as persons, to know more that we may understand more, and ultimately, it is to be hoped, to act according to our greater wisdom." (Karen Glass)
Learning to read is an incredible journey for children, and a privilege for teachers and parents to support this journey. Next week I will provide a list of recommended books for teaching reading, but first let me say a few words about something more important than how to read. Classical education is so powerful because it spreads delight in reading.
Andrew Kern of The Circe Institute shares his joy of reading Shakespeare's sonnets with his grammar-school-aged daughter (the most astonishing part: she enjoys it!). When Andrew considers that she really has little understanding of the language, he concludes that she delights in the sound of his words, the cadence of the poetry, and his own pleasure in the poems. By hearing her father read something he loves, Andrew's daughter catches on to that same joy.
As we teach our kids to read, what if we pursue a purpose greater than providing the building blocks for later education? What if we see this as our opportunity to cultivate character and a loving contemplation of truth, goodness, and beauty? Let's not lose sight of the greater gifts we can offer - delight in learning, growth in character, and producing wonder in the hearts of our kids as they explore the world.
At SSCA, teachers work diligently to help students master phonics, improve fluency, expand vocabulary, and read a variety of books. We also take time to share the stories and poems that move us. I would encourage every parent to do the same. Use the words and stories that have held importance in your life to create a shared experience and ignite a love for reading in your children.