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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Life as a Reader

A few years ago, my father presented me with a very special gift. He had searched painstakingly, calling a number of used bookstores, to find a copy of The Big Tidy Up, the first book I ever "read" all by myself.
I still remember the opening lines:
"Jennifer knew as well as you
that everything has its place.
But she just didn't care a whit, a bit
So her room was a real disgrace."

I memorized the entire book at age 3 and from that moment on, was an incredibly avid reader.

My favorite outing as a child was to the public library. I could have spent all day, every day, wandering amongst the shelves. I would pick out a book, open it, and get lost. I would take home huge stacks of books and immediately dive in. I loved the Bobbsey Twins and the Nancy Drew series. My parents made rules. For example, I was not allowed to read at the dinner table. I was not supposed to read while walking.

Now, many years later, I am a teacher and mother. There were several reasons I chose to become a teacher; one of them was based in my love of reading. I love to share books and reading with children. As a 4th/5th grade classroom teacher, I read aloud to my students almost every day. As a mother of a 10-year old daughter and a 7 year-old son, I read aloud to my children almost every night before bed. I have even started reading aloud to my husband. The bookstore and the library are still two of my favorite places.
I attribute most of my academic success to reading. It was through reading that I really learned to write, spell, and love stories. Through reading I have improved my vocabulary and increased my knowledge about the world. Through reading I have learned about history, psychology and myself. Through reading I traveled to places and times, inhabited the minds of characters I might never get to meet.
I once had the pleasure of hearing Kurt Vonnegut speak. One thing he said that really made an impression was "Reading is meditating with someone else's mind."
I guess I really like getting into the minds and thoughts, imaginations and ideas of others.

1 comment:

Christina A Dunnam said...

I must say you are absolutely not alone! I love reading and it is what has led me to pursue my teaching degree at the University of South Alabama. Las summer I actually read 13 books! My mom was constantly getting on to me for staying up too late reading as a child. I love that you read out loud to your students and children. I think it helps children see how fun reading is and also realize how important it is to read. I must say you have a very cool dad to get such a wonderful gift for you!