Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Vineyard Run brings attention to literacy

The 19th annual Vineyard Run for Literacy takes place Sunday, Oct. 12, at Steele Wines near Finley. Flyers are now on display at the Lake County Library.

For the 11 years I have lived here, my family has gone nearly every year to the Vineyard Run for Literacy.

Participants can take part in 5- and 10-K runs or a 5-K walk. The route traces Finley roads past orchards, vineyards and farms.

Part of the fun for me one year was in dressing in my uniform from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, replete with a red robe and crest for House Griffyndor. I only wish more people dressed for the occasion.

This cause is very important to me because reading has always been an enormous part of my life. I can't remember not knowing how to read.

Early on, Dad brought home science fiction novels like Edgar Rice Burroughs's "A Princess of Mars," as well as books that tied in to the "Star Trek" franchise.

Our home was filled with books, some of them very sophisticated. I don't know what prompted me to read the biographies of western philosophers. It was something to do, I guess, or maybe I liked the sound of their names. Can't say I recall any facts about Thomas More or Francis Bacon.

During weekly visits to the Calistoga library , I also read chapter books that were suitable for younger readers. There was a beanbag chair in the library 's children's wing that I could stretch out in, full-length.

Some of my most cherished books were in L. Frank Baum's "Oz" series.

Scholastic book fairs were always one of my favorite school-year events. Where better to build the collection of my personal library ? I don't know what finally happened to my "Adventures of the Great Brain" series by John D. Fitzgerald.

When I was in high school, my school librarian gave me a library discard of John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath." I reread it a few years ago during a statewide effort to read the Steinbeck classic.

But even after setting aside recreational reading, which many Americans don't share, reading is also an excellent source of acquiring information via magazines and newspapers. One of my personal favorites is "The Wilson Quarterly," which groups together articles by four or five authors each issue around a chosen theme. Their views reflect a wide spectrum of opinions and thoughts.

Nearly every aspect of our society presupposes an ability to read.

We rely upon printed directions on bottles of prescription pills to take our medications correctly.

Grocery labels contain vital information that informs our purchasing decisions.

Street names and traffic signs are essential for navigation.

Being able to distinguish between "opting out" and "opting in" is essential for reducing the sales pitches that bombard our phones and mailboxes.

Worship involves our direct experience of our sacred texts.

So imagine if you were completely cut off from these essential avenues of acquiring information. That's where our local literacy program comes in. Volunteers receive training in one-on-one tutoring services that are then provided free of charge to people in our own community.

You may not have time to provide these tutoring services but your donation helps further the benefits. There is no entry fee for the Lake County Literacy Run but the suggested donation is $20 for an individual or $30 for a family. You may also consider supporting a runner who is seeking additional pledges.

You can register online at, which is the agency that clocks finishing times for all race participants.

Registration forms are available at all branches of the Lake County Library . While you're at it, perhaps consider signing up for a library card. You can also find registration forms at Westamerica Bank, Lake County Visitor's Center and local chambers of commerce or by calling 263-7633.

Published Sept. 10, 2008 in the Clear Lake Observer American

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.