an educator. Assistant principal. I have a Bachelors Degree, two Masters Degrees,
and I’m ordained. I’ve written two published novels so far (more on the way)
and have a non-fiction Bible study for writers being shopped to editors by my
agent as we speak.
not bragging (and if you knew me, you’d know that’s not my M.O.). I’m making a
up, if you would have read that first paragraph to any of my teachers and asked
them, “This is going to be one of your students at age 52. Which student is
it?” My name would never have come up. Not a mention. Not a whisper. Not a chance.
Because I was your typical boy.
Often rude. Spoke my mind when it wasn’t in gear and kept my mouth closed when
I needed to answer. Was intelligent but often applied it incorrectly. I didn’t
know God and was a terrible reader (I would have been an Intensive Reading
student if they had such things back then).
you want me in your class?
one summer, we took a little weekend vacation to Daytona Beach. Got there on a
Friday, and it was raining. So, that night, we stopped at a little mall after
dinner. My mom, a big reader, dragged us into a bookstore, and I browsed
around, lamenting our current state of affairs, until a book caught my eye.
was 1975, and the movie had just come out in theaters. I wanted to see it, so I
picked up the book. When I started looking at it, my mom, after surviving the small
coronary she must have experienced, walked over and asked if I wanted her to
buy the book. She had already promised to take me and my friend to see the
movie, so she probably thought she’d capitalize on this rare opportunity.
had purchased books for me in the past. Beautiful
Joe by Marshall Saunders was the first one I remember reading. I struggled
through it. It was about a dog being abused, told in first person by Joe
himself. I liked dogs at the time, but not reading about them. So that became a
swing and a miss for Mom.
Jaws, on the other
hand, was entirely different. I devoured Jaws
(pun intended) in less than two weeks. A speed record for me. A home run
book became the key which opened the doors to reading for me. After finishing Jaws, I was left wondering if sharks
really do jump on the back of boats and if they really can get 25-feet long.
That sent me on a quest to find answers because, deep down, I wanted to be a
marine biologist at the time. What my mother didn’t probably understand was
she, unwittingly, had tapped into something which I was DEEPLY interested.
the key. If you’re like my mom and have a struggling reader, find that key.
That interest buried inside. It may not be buried very deep, but for some
reason, no one has taken the time to listen and hear the heart for reading,
beating just underneath the surface. Once the key is found, find the reading
material that revolves around it. Those of us who are struggling readers have
tricked ourselves into thinking, “I hate reading.” It’s not reading we hate,
actually. We hate being force fed things in school that we have no interest in.
Year after year. Grade level by grade level. Until finally, we are convinced
there is nothing good out there to read, or someone surely would have
introduced it to us by high school, right? The system breeds a disdain for
reading, ironic as that may seem.
someone would take the time to find out what our interests are, then as we
start to read about things we ARE interested in, and we start LEARNING new
things. The key slides into the lock and unlatches the mechanism that has held
us hostage far too long. Then, as we are afforded materials to read at this
critical juncture, it’s not long before we’re finding them on our own…and the
doors get blown off the hinges because LEARNING is FUN and ENGAGING.
Comprehension increases, reading becomes easier, grades often improve, life
here I sit. The doors to reading were blown off the hinges years ago. Yet, I’m
still a slow reader. I only finish a handful of books a year. As a Christian, I
often think to myself, “If I had not become a student who realized I love
reading after all, where would I be in my Christian walk?” For us to grow in
Christ, what must we do?
small feat for a struggling reader, especially if you’re handed a King James
version or are not a big World History aficionado.
And worse if you still hate to read.
I think Satan has known this from the time Moses put quill to papyrus (pen to
paper for us modern folks). “If I can get them to sin,” he probably thought
early on, “and have the writings of God destroyed (Early Israeli history at the
bottom of Mount Sinai), and if I can cause them to be carried off into
captivity so they have no access to God’s writings (Babylonian-Assyrian
periods), and if I can confound the writings of God with bureaucratic duplicity
(from emerging Greek and Roman Empires through Constantine’s reign), and if I
can make the people ignorant so they don’t understand God’s writings (Middle
Ages when so much was written and preached in Latin), and if I can eventually
make reading a nemesis for young people by capturing their hearts with an
electronic age, filled with computers and gaming and cell phones, then just
think of how many of these dolts I’ll separate from God for all eternity?”
not taking the time to get our young people interested in reading so that they
can read for themselves, in essence, we develop a de facto “peasant state” who has to believe the “lords” and
“governors” of the region because they can’t read and think critically for
said, “It’s the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought
without accepting it.”
I say, it’s a the mark of a Godly mind as well (Read 1 John 4:1-6; Galatians
1:6-10; Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 33-35, 38-39, 43-44; 6:1-4, 5-6, 16-17, 19-20).
can’t know what God’s Word says if you never read and comprehend it.
C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an
ordained minister, having served churches in New York, Mississippi, Texas, and
Iowa. He is married (for 33+ years), has three daughters, two sons-in-law, and
five grandchildren. He speaks in churches on occasion, presently works as an
assistant principal in a Central Florida school district, and plays the drums
in his church’s praise team. He is a huge fan of the TV series 24 , The
Blacklist, and Criminal Minds,
loves anything to do with Star Trek,
and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.
Kevin is a member of the
Christian Authors Network (CAN), ACFW, and Word Weavers International, and his
published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (OakTara, 2012; winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge
Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer
Thriller: Book 1 (OakTara 2013),as
well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate,
The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines
Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.