The other night on a long ride home, we stopped at the rest stop so hubby could go *potty*. I, naturally, stayed in the car being anxious to pick up where I left off in my new book. The parking lot was well lit so I had plenty of light to read by. Already engrossed in my novel, I was startled by a tap on the window. A rather sophisticated older woman was smiling at me and pointing to my book. “Oh, I just love to see people reading. Do you read in the car?”

Well, yes. I’m in the car. She was just trying to be nice so I put my snarky inner thoughts away. After all I wasn’t feeling rude, it was just a “duh” moment. I chuckled and replied, “I read anywhere I can.”

“Oh, and it’s such a thick book. I think that is wonderful. I can’t read like that, you know. I wish I could read a book.”

“Well, enjoy.” She started to hop into her car.

Since I have been preparing for my new job with our literary organization I have been having an awakening of appreciation that I can read, as there are so many who cannot. An urgent sense of duty overcame me. I must say something to encourage her.

“Excuse me, could I ask is it that you cannot read.” She was probably thinking, “Yes, that is what I said.

“I can read, I don’t retain what I read though. So I really can’t enjoy a book. Now, at the hospital where I work you can show me anything and I will catch on just like that, but I don’t learn well by reading.”

I offered her a smile and a nod of affirmation, “There are all kinds of learners. Some are more visual and others more auditory. Whatever works.”

“You enjoy that book now.”

“And you have a safe trip.”

I was prepared to suggest to the woman that she find a literary organization so she could improve her reading skills. Instead I learned something from her by getting a glimpse of her desire to read. It was a reminder that there is more to literacy than being able to read. It’s also about comprehension, retention, and enjoyment. These are all literacy related issues that affact people all around us.

I hope that I can have a positive impact in my new position by being an encouragement to both those who need to learn to read or improve their skills and the volunteers alike who will serve in this important roll.

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