See Spot Run

Written by Wally Amos

What do you want your legacy to be?  I can tell you with certainty that fame and fortune are not what I have in mind, and I’ve had both.  I would like to be remembered as a good father to my children.  I would like to be remembered as a baker who put happiness and love into every cookie and muffin.  Most of all, however, I want to be remembered for helping to create a more literate society.

My commitment to ending illiteracy has been a lifelong journey, and a personal one, because my parents were both illiterate.  I know that the only way we are ever going to get rid of the problem of adult illiteracy is to create an entire generation of kids who love to read.

And, as important as good schools and excellent teachers are to a child’s education, the love of reading does not begin with, “See Spot run.”  It begins with funny stories of animals that can talk, and fairy-tale journeys that chronicle super-natural powers.  It begins with happy endings.  That is why I helped create the Read It LOUD! Foundation, which encourages parents to read aloud to their children for 10 minutes every day.

Read stories filled with happiness and wonderment.   Expose your children to tales of adventure and emotion.

In your heart you know that no kid really cares whether Spot runs or not.  But they can get very emotionally invested in cheering for the little mouse whose brave escapades result in winning the cheese.

If you want to leave behind something truly worth being remembered for, make your legacy a child who loves to read.


12 Comments

  1. Brad Bate   |  Tuesday, 03 May 2011 at 3:49 am

    I was asked not long ago what book turned me into a lifelong reader. Without hesitation I replied, “Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks with a Circus,” a 1923 classic by James Otis Kaler. I don’t know when I first read it, but I think I was pretty young…maybe 1950 when I was about eight. Kaler actually traveled with the Phineas T. Barnum Circus as a young reporter, and he used his firsthand knowledge to acquaint me and untold thousands of other children with the behind-the-scenes details of what the circus was really like. I was thinking a lot about the book in the past few days because I saw “Water for Elephants,” a motion picture based on Sara Gruen’s 2007 novel. In one sense, it was something of an adult version of Toby Tyler, set not in the late 19th Century, but in America’s Great Depression. I liked both the book and the film. Then I saw your blog post today, Wally, which forced me to think even more. And I concluded that the book that really made me a lifelong reader was “The Little Engine that Could,” the 1930 telling of a story of optimism and hard work that I remember my grandfather reading to me well before I began kindergarten. My grandparents on both sides of my family and my parents, especially my father, always read to me and my brothers from my earliest memory. They established in me a love of words and a passion for books. And the cadences of Waddy Piper’s (publisher Arnold Munk) prose resonate in me to this day. Keep up your good work, Wally. Let’s turn every child into a lifelong reader and blot illiteracy from the face of America.

  2. Rick Daigoumee   |  Tuesday, 03 May 2011 at 8:08 pm

    This is a really a nice and helpful piece of information about education. I’m glad that you shared this with us. Please keep keeping us informed like this. I like your style. Thanks again for sharing, Wally.

  3. Children Of The World   |  Thursday, 05 May 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Teaching children to read may be one of the most important things that any of us can do. We would be nothing without our ability to communicate with each other. My company produces games and books for older children (and young adults). We would be out of business if our customers were unable to read. Keep up the good work, Uncle Wally! Fight the good fight. Sometimes it feels like we’re all talking to the hand. LOL

    Marc

  4. Ruth Beasley   |  Friday, 20 May 2011 at 8:50 am

    I am a teacher and I know that the more children read, the better they become at reading. It’s as simple as that. The more enjoyable the things they read are, the more they’ll stick with them and develop the reading skills that they’ll need for full access to information in their adult lives. Reading should be viewed as a pleasurable activity – as a source of entertaining tales and useful and interesting factual information. But that’s difficult to do at school.

    It’s much easier for us as teachers if the children come to us with a predisposition toward the written word. The more young children are read to, the greater their interest in mastering reading. Reading out loud exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing. It enhances the development of their spoken language skills, their ability to express themselves verbally.

    I commend you for your support in this very important cause. On behalf of teachers everywhere, thank you!!

    Mrs. Beasley
    1st grade

  5. Daryl Prospect   |  Friday, 03 June 2011 at 10:29 am

    As a life-long educator, I know the value of reading for small children. I also know the value of reading for adults. But few learn this skill after about age ten. If you haven’t gotten them hooked on reading by then, you can pretty much forget about it. I consider illiteracy to be the number one problem globally. If we could conquer this, we could move mountains.

    I appreciate your efforts in helping children find their voice. I will go to your foundation web site to learn what you are doing to help children fight illiteracy. Keep up the good work.

    Dr. Daryl Prospect

  6. Literacy Trust   |  Thursday, 16 June 2011 at 7:24 am

    Hello from the UK! Did you know that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson recently launched a new reading and literacy project to help young children (aged 3-5 years) who are struggling with their learning development? The scheme will work with families and equip them with the skills to boost their children’s literacy and prepare them for school entry. Mayor Johnson said, “Improving childhood literacy unlocks a myriad of opportunities and bestows a life long passion for learning. It is desperately unfair that hundreds of children in our city enter education struggling with the basic language and learning skills they need to succeed in the classroom. Every parent wants the best start for their child, and this fantastic new scheme will equip them with the mechanisms to make literacy a fun part of their children’s daily lives. Everyone who has an interest in helping should get in touch to help truly make a difference.”

    Mr. Amos, your foundation might be interested in working with the Literacy Trust to stress importance of parents reading to their kids. Feel free to contact us at any time.

  7. R. Quick   |  Thursday, 07 July 2011 at 5:22 pm

    My favorite book when I was growing up was The Poky Little Puppy. I loved that book!

  8. Sally   |  Wednesday, 07 September 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Reading is so important to special needs children, particularly the visually impaired. Textbooks are worthless to these children. But they love to be read to, especially action books and fantasy stories. Reading is essential to their well being. Keep up the good work Mr. Amos.

  9. Seria A   |  Thursday, 15 September 2011 at 9:30 pm

    This was interesting. How can we learn more about your reading foundation?

  10. S. Shoular   |  Wednesday, 09 November 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Having been merely looking at helpful blog articles with regard to some project research when my partner and I happened to stumble on yours. Thanks for this practical info!

  11. CHIGIPOO   |  Tuesday, 07 February 2012 at 2:53 pm

    What do you want your legacy to be? I can tell you with certainty that fame and fortune are not what I have in mind, and I’ve had both. I would like to be remembered as a good father to my children. I would like to be remembered as a baker who put happiness and love into every cookie and muffin. Most of all, however, I want to be remembered for helping to create a more literate society.

    My commitment to ending illiteracy has been a lifelong journey, and a personal one, because my parents were both illiterate. I know that the only way we are ever going to get rid of the problem of adult illiteracy is to create an entire generation of kids who love to read.

    And, as important as good schools and excellent teachers are to a child’s education, the love of reading does not begin with, “See Spot run.” It begins with funny stories of animals that can talk, and fairy-tale journeys that chronicle super-natural powers. It begins with happy endings. That is why I helped create the Read It LOUD! Foundation, which encourages parents to read aloud to their children for 10 minutes every day.

    I think, Read stories filled with happiness and wonderment. Expose your children to tales of adventure and emotion.

    In your heart you know that no kid really cares whether Spot runs or not. But they can get very emotionally invested in cheering for the little mouse whose brave escapades result in winning the cheese.

    If you want to leave behind something truly worth being remembered for, make your legacy a child who loves to read.
    NOW LETS PARTY

  12. Martha Steward   |  Monday, 05 March 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you! For the years of inspiring young readers. I do remember those yummy cookies. Now you feed us with more insight to creating a legacy. Darby’s Story and More is my way of paying forward to inspire pet adoption and the Reading is Joy. I pledged weeks ago to Read Across America, Read Aloud Day and Share your story. That what the blog does for young and old, great and small…..Thank you ~ Martha

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