A Great Grandmother’s Letter to her Great Granddaughter about Reading

Lilacs book covereFrog Press is delighted to host this guest post shared by Frank Barone–poet, author of Lilacs and Other Stories, and retired English teacher. His ebook, Lilacs, is free July 17-22. This eclectic collection of short stories by poet Frank Barone introduces readers to a variety of characters, and leaps from sweet reminisces at a grocery store counter to tales of the complicated life of a young woman in love. Barone’s simple prose and riveting storytelling will simultaneously take your breath away and warm your heart. Dive into these stories and spend an hour or seven roaming the California coastline and seeking adventures in the streets of Brooklyn. You won’t be sorry you did.


Frank BaroneWhen my friend, Ruth, and I get together, usually at a table in Barnes & Noble, we talk about books and reading, teaching and writing, golf and poetry, and always about our families.

At one of our meetings Ruth spoke about having written a letter to her eight-year-old great granddaughter in which she recalled memories of her first Christmas.  She also told me about her most recent letter in which she shared her memories of learning to read.

Telling stories to children helps them to grow up, to learn about families, neighborhoods, and about other people, places, and cultures.  Most importantly, reading stories helps us to learn in an entertaining way about ourselves.

Reading and writing hold a special place in Ruth’s life.  She earned a degree in reading and spent many productive years teaching elementary school children reading and writing skills, and encouraged them to develop a love for words.  Even now as a great grandmother, books continue to fascinate Ruth.

After you read Ruth’s letter, perhaps you might also write to one of your young relatives to share memories of your reading experiences.


“I have never lost my love for reading.” Ruth B.


Dear Mia,

I have been thinking of you. So—I decided to write to you.

Is school out for you this Friday? What are you going to do every day this summer? Be sure to read every day. Now that you are a good reader you need to keep the reading skills that you learned so—read a few minutes every day.

I am going to tell you about what happened to me when I couldn’t (didn’t) read all summer long. Then I went back to school. I was very happy. You can probably guess what had happened to my reading skills though.

The summer had been very long for me. When I was a little girl living on a big farm, I did not have outside friends to see and to play with. I did not have books to read. So, I played outside mostly by myself. I made up imaginary friends. I talked with them.

I was so happy when school started again and the teacher gave me my reader. But, I found out I could read the easy words. However there were quite a few words that I could not sound out. I had to ask the teacher for help time and again. After she pronounced the words for me, she finally said not to ask her again. I felt so humiliated. I hope you never have to feel that way. Anyhow I quickly relearned what I had lost in reading skills.

I have never lost my love for reading.

At about this time in my life, “Big Little Books” were published. They cost ten cents. My Dad bought them for us children at home. We kids at home were my brother Glen, who was older than me, my sister, Velva, who was younger than me, and Marvin, my baby brother.

Hope I hear from you soon.

Your Great grandmother, Ruth

I love you!!

Please share

Ruth’s  expresses her passion for reading through the fine art of letter writing. Have you every received a letter you treasure from a grandparent or great grandparent? Share what you would like your children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren or great grandchildren to know about your love for reading?

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