Thursday, November 1, 2012

The New and Improved Flat Stanley

“Leaders are Readers”, that’s something that Tim Sanders always says and I agree.  As a former first grade teacher, I have literally taught hundreds of children to read.  That’s a really big deal to me because knowing how to read will impact your quality of life.  Having a love of reading will change your life in immeasurable ways. 


One of my favorite books that many students read is Flat Stanley.  Some of you may be familiar with this little guy.  Students get a photocopy of Flat Stanley, color him, and mail him to a variety of locations near and far.  The recipient of Flat Stanley takes him along on an adventure and snaps a picture with him at a unique place or special event.  Then they would either send him back to the student or pass him along to someone else who would do the same.  It was a great way for children to ‘see’ the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, an NFL football game or the Olympics, or the President of the United States.  This book literally took them to new worlds they had never before explored.  Books always do.

I had a Flat Stanley moment this week.  Due to a little thing called Jury Duty, I was not able to attend a conference on Tuesday to hear one of my favorite leaders of all time, Seth Godin.  Needless to say, I was very disappointed, until my Seth Godin action figure began to show up on my phone throughout the day to share the conference experience with me.

This immediately took me back to my Flat Stanley days.   While a child may never have been to New York City, the wonderment of a child’s first view of their Flat Stanley at the top of the Empire State Building made it seem like they had.  That, MasterCard, is priceless.

I honestly don’t know where I’d be without books.  They teach me things, they take me places, they broaden my perspective, they relax me.  But, if children can’t read, they can’t experience any of those things.  And, because of that, their quality of life is severely limited.

Fortunately, the Community Foundation has a fund that helps to solve this very problem.  The Imagination Library Fund provides one book per month to any Grant County child, from birth to age 5.  This means that by the time the student enters kindergarten, they would have their own personal library of 60 books.  The books are all age-appropriate, are mailed directly to the student at home, and provide the reading readiness that is often lacking with many of our Grant County young people today.  The only problem is that the fund is sorely depleted, yet the children love the books.

If books have impacted your life, if you believe that reading is a fundamental skill that all children deserve, please consider a donation to The Imagination Library Fund.  One month of support for all of Grant County costs $2,500.  But, a donation of any size can help to change a child’s life forever.
Think about this as you ponder your vote for the leaders of our city, county, state, and country next Tuesday.  If “Leaders are Readers” like Tim Sanders says, then a donation to this fund today would be like a ‘vote’ for one of our great leaders of tomorrow.  That’s sure to get bi-partisan support.

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