Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Satisfied Appetite of a Reluctant Reader

Since this week is Teacher Appreciation Week, this week's All About MEme Monday is a teacher tribute. I knew that I had an assignment somewhat similar to this when I was in college. The assignment was to write a literacy history. A literacy history was pretty much your history of reading, self-explanatory. Well, since I was becoming an English teacher, obviously my literacy history was going to end with an English teacher who influenced me. I cut and pasted this assignment from a Word doc, so I hope it cooperates. 

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Also, check out the pics I posted in my Book Nook.

You can also check out what's on my nightstand right now.

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The Appetite of a Reluctant Reader: Sharks & Barbra Streisand

“When you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life can.” As I think back on the words uttered from the lips of Kathleen Kelly in the quaint little film You’ve Got Mail, I must say that I agree. Therefore, if these books become such part of your identity then that would explain my early vocabulary development and lack of peer group social skills. Sadly enough, I had no favorite books until that day of enlightenment in the tenth grade when my soul was saved. In the tenth grade, I signed up to be part of a group of five students in an experimental writing class under the direction of the same person who would be teaching my English class. I had no idea the dramatic change of heart toward learning that this would set into motion. Even reluctant readers have some point of interest. As a teacher, I will seek to find that niche just as someone once did with me.

As a young child, the only times I remember being read to was from the Bible or morally abundant anthologies like the Book of Virtues. These books were the only necessary reading in the eyes of my tremendously religious and now absent father. I must say that my vocabulary and reading progressed quite rapidly, being that the only reading I was ever required to accomplish was from a King James Version of the good book or a Focus on the Family-regulated girl’s magazine. I remember my father requiring me and my brother to take turns reading the scriptures aloud and interpreting them for chapters at a time. As you could probably understand, reading became more of a task or chore than a good habit. 

Approaching fourth and fifth grades, I began to form more interests outside those that my parents dictated. As my interests and identity began to form so did new reading habits. I began to read about more about marine life. I became exceedingly interested in sharks. I remember reading books entitled The Animal Fact File and Sharks Attacks on Men until the spines were split. In addition to sharks, I was interested in musicians and actresses. The contrast between their real lives and their on-screen personas intrigued me. I remember specifically reading a Barbra Streisand biography cover-to-cover. 

Although the private lives of celebrities and carnivorous eating habits of great white sharks infinitely intrigued me, it was not so cool amongst the rest of my cohorts at my small Baptist middle school. I had resolved to come to terms with my towering statue, but these atypical interests had to be tossed out the window for popularity’s sake. Throughout my latter middle school years and early high school years, my reading habits were virtually non-existent with the exception of the occasional Seventeen magazine, however, when I walked into my tenth grade English class that all changed. This teacher created the most endearing and comfortable environment. Under the inspiration and instruction of the most brilliant teacher I have ever encountered, my enthusiasm and motivation for learning dramatically increased. I found myself journaling and reading anything I could find, on a daily basis.

Because of one amazing person, I could not quit reading or writing every chance I was given. I remember every book we read. I kept every paper and writing assignment from that year. I sometimes look back at those old journal entries. Those pieces of free thought take me back to a time of such inspiration and intellectual energy that I am sometimes jealous of my own tenth-grade-self. I knew that there was a reason I kept all of those assignments. Now, I will use them to drive and inspire those in my own classroom the same as they inspired me.

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Since we are on the subject of high school, I went to a shower for a high school 
buddy last weekend. It was great to see some old faces. Can't wait for the 

P.S. Look how much my steroid face has gone down!
Only a few more inches of cheek to go! LOL.

Best Wishes, Whit!

I am participating in two carnivals today...



  1. It only takes one great teacher to guide you through a lifetime of learning. Stopping from SITS!

  2. A great tribute during this week dedicated to teachers. Here on the east coast thinking about the states on the gulf and praying for a solution to the oil spill.

  3. A great teacher can stay with you a lifetime!

  4. How cool that you kept all those assignments. I bet they're great reading.

    I'm surprised my mother didn't - she pretty much kept everything else from my childhood.

  5. First of all, I adore that quote about books and reading! Thank you for reminding me of it :) How wonderful that you can attribute one school year, one teacher to unlocking your creativity; that's powerful!

  6. I'm all about books and getting kids to read. I've always been a reader although it has slowed down with 2 kids running around.

    I will be following you to see what else you have in store!
    Stopping by from SITS

  7. What a beautiful post. Have you sent it to that teacher??? I am sure it would make their year! I was part of an experimental English class during my Junior year and I have never read so much or enjoyed a class more. It was a wonderful experience.

  8. I loved You Got Mail...I think I have seen it 20 times.

  9. I have also kept some assignments from a favorite class. They are back on.

  10. are "great to look" back on -
    stupid dell