A Fleeting History of Reading Memories
Reading has been a collaborative effort since early childhood, a process which involved all family members, both immediate and extended. Books were valued, cherished, revered and kept always at hand. It was with a sense of calm confidence that my grandparents, parents and uncles referred to the inevitability of my elevation to enlightened reader. I knew early on that reading was important. Reading was a way to convey thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
My relatives read to me often with great emotion, often laughing or crying out… in tune with the literature as we became joined in an eloquent journey. My grandmother emphasized the engagement with literature, the importance of a sensory involvement. Thus began my long and winding trail of worlds real, imagined or otherwise created in my head by another’s words.
The introduction to reading in a traditional education setting was filled with Dick and Jane and their incessant dog…. Ahhhh the boredom! But I did appreciate the illustrations. The bright scarlet skirt Jane always seemed to don, the blue which I can still see flashing across the page as Dick ran – where to? I don’t know.
It wasn’t until grade 3 and Mrs. Wagga that someone realized I could read beyond the Basal Readers littering the classroom and suddenly the boredom drifted away in the sea of books I was encouraged to explore, review, and share! Thank goodness for a teacher open to individualized programming, critical literacy and a whole language process which opened my literary world beyond the phonetic readers which confined, limited, and numbed my mind.
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