Elementary Reading Autobiography. Kelly Coleman C&I 449. Being read to as a child….
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My parents and grandparents claim that I forced them to read me the same books over and over again….until I had them memorized. If they missed or skipped a word, I would correct them. I remember owning a lot of the Little Golden Books, which told everything from familiar fairy tales, to condensed classics, to stories with Disney characters.
I don’t recall exactly when I learned to read. I had a stay-at-home mom and never attended a pre-school, but as I mentioned before, I had a family that read to me consistently, and I picked up many letter and word recognition skills at a young age. I started learning to read formally in 1st grade, with Houghton Mifflin basal “readers” such as this.
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary was the first chapter book I read by myself. Of course, I selected it after the teacher had read it aloud to the class. This was in either 2nd or 3rd grade.
The Westdale School Library was one of my favorite places to visit. Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Battaglia, and Mrs. Pikel always greeted us with smiling faces. I loved story time, and they always had recommendations especially for me. When the first Apple computers were introduced to the school in 1982 or 1983, we had to get a “driver’s license” in order to use them independently. You could receive a driver’s license by learning to turn the computer on and off properly, and by learning how to properly insert a floppy disk.
My favorite authors were Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary—probably because my primary teachers always selected their books for read-alouds. I absolutely loved everything they read to us. As for other books, I think I must have read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at least 10 times.
I think the person who most influenced my reading habits did not come along until later, during my junior high years. Ms. Reeves, my 6th and 7th grade Language Arts teacher, challenged us with reading classics and doing interesting assignments. Even today, some of those stories remain among my favorites. And look where I am now…teaching 7th grade Language Arts!!!!