Ron Padgett, the author of Creative Reading, recalls how he learned to read and write as though these things happened yesterday. Like Padgett, I tried recalling my reading and writing history.
When my parents read to me, they enjoyed reading Dr. Suess books, which became popular with the publication of The Cat In The Hat. I was only interested in looking at books with color. When the books were colorful they grabbed my attention quickly. I couldn’t wait for my parents to come in my room at night and read to me from The Cat in the Hat. I think that this is one of the popular books that parents should read to their children.
Every time my parents read to me, I tried to say the words along with them. As a result, anytime I had problems pronouncing a word, my mother made me sound the word out until I sounded it correctly. She told me to take each word, syllable by syllable.
When I grew older, I loved reading The Babysitter's Club series. Each time I bought a Babysitter’s Club book, it had a section in the back where a girl could sign up to be part of what was known as The Babysitter’s Club. All a girl had to do was fill out the back portion of the book and send it in to a mailing address. It took about three weeks for a package to arrive at my house. It was fun being part of the club because I received three different books, bumper stickers, buttons, pencils, mirrors, and other things I thought were cool every month. They were the only books that existed in my life. I loved reading the series and wondering what the next story would be about.
Moreover, in elementary school, there was a program “Book It,” which was a reading program to encourage children to read more often. We received special buttons that were worn with stars making public that we were students involved in the Book It. I do not recall exactly how many books had to be read, but after you reached a certain number you would receive coupons for free pizza. I know that is definitely what got me to read more often. I started to read anything I could get my hands on just to earn free pizza. All of the kids loved it! It was a great way to encourage kids to read a little more.
Although I may not remember much about learning to read, I do remember a little bit more about how I learned to write. I remember that my teacher had a chalk holder that held about four pieces of chalk. Each chalk was evenly spaced out so she could draw lines on the board to look like writing paper. We learned how to make our letters on the board. We used the big loose-leaf paper with the dotted lines in between the solid lines. She said we needed that kind of paper to make sure we wrote our letters right. There would already be a letter in the top left corner and I would just try my best to make my letters look like that one. We used the whole paper to do just one letter over and over again. We wrote our letters so much and so often that, that was when I first started to...