August 31, 2009

Can we talk about something?

Now, I'm not one to sit around and bellyache about what W. did during his eight years in office (much), and I feel that blaming him for the cancellation of what was once my favorite show everrrrr, Reading Rainbow, is laughable. What he did with the education in this country, though, is also laughable, in a sad way, but I just got finished saying I don't bellyache about his presidency. Much.

The issue I'm having isn't even that. There's really no room to teach kids that reading can be fun, delightful? There's no room for telling kids that no matter what their interests are, there are tons of books that they could LOVE to read? Because we have to spend all our television time teaching phonics, something that parents should be far more responsible for than PBS? Is it really that big of a problem, are kids really not being read to, to the extent that we can no longer assume that a large enough number of kids know how to read and might possibly be actually interested in reading for the sake of reading? And enjoy LeVar Burton's voice the way I did? (Or less than the way I did, but more on that later.)

See, every time my teacher was out sick in first and second grade, we watched Reading Rainbow. And I'd watch it at home on my sick days. AND EVERY TIME, I wanted to read the book he showcased. And I used to write down the title and the titles that the other kids on the show used to recommend (remember that?) for future reference, like when mom would take us to the library--which was always such a treat--and I'd come home with stacks and stacks of books, some of them recommendations from LeVar himself. Granted, I grew up to be an English major, and can hardly pass a sign or a bumper sticker or instructions without wanting to know what they say, which is usually a letdown, but I CANNOT STOP reading, even six or eight words at a time, and I'm ALWAYS reading a book, something, anything I can get my hands on, and also...I mean, this is kind of a secret, but...

...I mean, my first crush was LeVar Burton. I just remember his voice. His voice, God, his voice! That man has the greatest voice of all time. I can still hear him saying, "but you don't have to take my word for it!" and, of course, "See ya next time!" (BECAUSE HE WON'T SEE US NEXT TIME! BECAUSE THERE IS NO NEXT TIME!) So maybe that's the problem I'm having. Certainly that's why I kind of misted up a bit about the cancellation. Twice. Once when I heard about the announcement, and once more when I read an article that sort of recapped the show. Because when I was a kid, that show made me unbelievably happy. And while it got a lot of kids to see that they could actually (gasp!) enjoy reading, for me, it encouraged what was already a growing love of books. And I think it's sad that the powers that be have determined that there's just no room for that anymore.

Sigh. See ya next time. Or, you know, not.

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