When I was a kid, it seemed I frequently got in trouble at school. I’d get excited or nervous and just start bouncing off the walls. Maybe I should have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, but at the time, I was just an “energetic” kid.
My parents encouraged me to play sports, giving me an excellent outlet for much of my energy. I loved to run and play at recess, and I always tried as hard as I could in gym class. Sports and games weren’t just fun for me; they helped me focus for the entire rest of the day and were a critical part of my education in many ways.
But the one time I could really calm down was when I opened a book. Even at a very young age, I remember lying on the couch in our living room and reading for hours. I’d go to the library and take out 3 or 4 books at a time, always looking for new and interesting stories to read.
Today I am calmer overall, but I still get bursts of nervous energy. The day before a trip I oftentimes find myself walking in tight circles around my house, double- and triple-checking everything; “Do I have my toothbrush? Did I pack my passport?” But reading remains the calming force in my life. No matter what is coming, or going on around me, I can always pull out a book and settle down.
Reading isn’t just a grade or a class in school; it’s a vital part of each of our lives. We read every day; in fact, we communicate largely by reading (and writing) these days. It’s one of the most important skills children learn, and yet many children and adults cannot read enough to handle everyday tasks.
That is why The Leaven focuses so closely on reading at each of our 10 centers. We know that reading is a doorway to all other learning and to great opportunities in life. By helping kids master reading skills, we don’t just help them get good grades — we are helping them achieve amazing possibilities. We couldn’t do that without friends like you who support the efforts of The Leaven every day. Together we are helping kids and communities rise.