Your presence in my life.
The way you make me feel.
Your soothing aura.
The way you touch me.
The glimmer in your eye.
The feel of your skin again mine.
Your gentle kiss.
The sweet way you calm me down.
Your contageous laugh.
I’m missing you!
- Do you remember learning to read?
I don’t remember the beginning stages of learning to read. I don’t remember learning my letters or learning to sound out words. My parents valued education immensely and my mom said that she enrolled me in pre-school as soon as I was old enough to attend. Besides that I imagine that I learned to read in my first few years of elementary school.
- Do you remember who taught you?
I must have learned phonics and early reading skills from those pre-school and early elementary teachers, but I don’t remember. My first awareness of reading was when I was in the fourth grade. I had attended a rural country school in Kentucky from first to third grade. Then I transferred to a fast-paced, upper middle class school outside of the DC area for the fourth grade. I struggled in my new school. I remember being very behind and not liking reading.
- What kinds of books did you read in school?
In elementary school, in reading, we read out of leveled readers. I don’t remember ever being required to read trade books in elementary school. After I struggled to read in school, I remember that the only time I read for pleasure was on family vacations. My grandmother had a huge collection of children’s encyclopedias in the guestroom where we stayed. After my troubles in fourth grade I remember flipping through them and being captivated by the pictures. The pictures are what attracted me to the words and I loved all the information I learned from those words. I remember my mother was surprised that I was reading those books. And I remember that my dad commented to her, “See, she will read if she is given something that really interests her.” In order to aid my interest in reading we took those books home with us from our family vacation and I still have those books to this day.
From the time that I had trouble reading until I entered college I would only read material that highly interested me – usually non-fiction material. In school I did not read much out of textbooks or assigned reading material. I only read “light” or sensational books that interested me like the encyclopedias in elementary school, V.C. Andrew’s books in middle school and biographies or true story crime books like Helter Skelter in high school.
- If you had reading groups in your classrooms, how did you feel about them? What do you remember about them?
My fourth grade classroom had reading groups and I was in the lowest one. I fell so far behind the other students that I was pulled out of the classroom to attend a special reading class. Being pulled out of my classroom for remedial help was bittersweet for me. While I did not like feeling singled out by being pulled out of my regular classroom, I like my special reading teacher much better than my regular teacher whom I didn’t like or feel liked by.
- What did you like most about reading in school?
To be quite honest, I don’t remember much that I liked about reading in school. I generally did not like to read in school and I tried not to. If I had to pick any one thing that I liked about reading in school it would be the information that I gained by reading. I liked learning new things and I did understand how reading could open the world up to learn those new things.
- What did you like least about reading in school?
There are a lot of things that I did not like about reading. The key thing was that it was so difficult. Reading was tedious and frustrating. Although I had an excellent speaking vocabulary, when it came to the written word, there were so many words that I couldn’t figure out. Reading was difficult and hard. I was embarrassed because I made so many mistakes. Reading was tiring and hard to understand. Reading took a long time and by the time I was done with the page I had a hard time remembering what I had just read. Reading was work; it was not enjoyable.
- Describe your favorite teacher of reading. Why was this teacher your favorite?
In the fourth grade, when my regular teacher determined that I was severely behind and needed remedial help she recommended me to a special reading teacher for pull-out assistance. I have no idea what this reading teacher’s name is/was, but she was probably my favorite teacher of reading of all time. My reading teacher made me feel special and loved. She was the only one in my elementary career that helped books come alive for me. While she taught us to read she focused on content and providing interesting books that kept out attention.
- Did you think you were a good reader when you were young?
By the time I was in the fourth grade I had a very poor image of myself as a reader. It was the first time in my life that I felt like I was struggling in school. I started to dislike reading greatly and I got to the point where I no longer saw myself as a reader and that continued until n I was in high school. That’s when my younger sister was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was given special dyslexic instruction in her elementary, middle and high school years. After she was determined to be dyslexic, I was tested and found to be dyslexic as well. Teachers in my middle school had brought up to my parents that I may have a problem with it, but no one ever offered to test me and it wasn’t until my sister was tested and diagnosed that my parents understood the problem and how I had struggled with it all those years. But the time I was diagnosed I had already come up with personal strategies that helped me cope with my difficulties. The biggest highlight for me, in being diagnosed dyslexic was the feeling that I was not a failure and that I had a legitimate problem with my reading.
- Do you think you’re a good reader now?
I think that my high school diagnosis of dyslexia freed me mentally to try to read for pleasure. That freedom helped me to become the good reader that I consider myself today.
Once I started college and started reading in my personal time for pleasure, I felt like I received a new lease on life or at least a new avenue of learning was opened up for me. I started easy reading novels by Mary Higgins Clark, John Grishim or David Baldacci. As my confidence grew I began reading books that I had missed out on in high school like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Scarlett Letter. Now I read tons of books, both fiction and non-fiction. I read for pleasure and for learning; I read to be connected with others and to gain information. I read for a better understanding of the world and for a better understanding of myself. I feel the confidence now to pick up any book and read it.
- Do you like to read?
Now, as an adult, I love reading. I read, obviously, for my graduate class, for professional development, and for personal pleasure. I read children’s books to my daughter. I read to stay connected to the reading friends I have developed. I read to research information on anything I want to know. I read constantly.