Being a reader is something that I do not take for granted. I’m not sure at what age I became a “good” reader. I remember being in the “middle reading group” in elementary school. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the groups were named after birds. You know: The Blue Bird Group – they were the top readers, The Red Bird Group, and the poorest readers: The Buzzards Group—(not really their name). And like all kids, I envied the Blue Bird Group.
I have a distinct memory of my third grade teacher (nasty ol' Miss Brown) making a big stink over me mistakenly using the word ‘kids’ in a sentence when the text said ‘children’. It went something like this: The text sentence: The children ran outside. What I read out loud: The kids ran outside. I remember she made me read that sentence several times until I finally realized my mistake. (I know now, as an experienced teacher, that those kinds of word substitutions do not change the meaning of the text, nor is it the end of the world if a kid can understand the meaning of the passage even if using an incorrect word.) Geesh lady, take a chill pill.
I think sixth grade might have been the year that I stood up and took notice of literature. My teacher that year read many books to our class that I considered “risky.” I wrote in a previous post about The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton and how that book changed me. That may have been the beginning of my love of reading. This particular school year was an all-out whole language paarrtayyy. We got together in small groups and wrote extra chapters for The Outsiders, and then made the book into a play. I remember my friend, Connie, was talked into being the lead female, Cherry Valance, because she had the best clothes of all the girls in our class. We also wrote a newspaper based on the events of that story. It Was All Good. No taking turns reading out loud up and down the desk rows that year. Mrs. Juanita Jackson (my teacher) knew what was what when it comes to engaging kids in reading.
When I was in junior high, I was put in an accelerated reading class. This class literally was a speed reading course. After reading a text that flashed on the screen-- I’m not talking computer screen, I mean reach-up-and- grab-the-handle-pull-it-down silver screen-- fired from a slide projector, we had to complete a comprehension quiz before moving on. Oh, man did I love the status of that class and I was determined to stay above the line that would send me back to the regular reading class. The cool thing about this class is that I didn’t have to read out loud in front of the other kids. -- Because whenever I had to read out loud you could just forgggedddabout comprehension at that point!
I’m rather confused and disoriented when I’m in a crowd. (My husband often leads me through them.) I don’t do well with small talk. I’d rather just sit back and talk with one or two people- and even that’s difficult sometimes. I get overwhelmed in unfamiliar surroundings. I often observe rather than participate. I like to people-watch. I like quiet. I am an introverted person.
It seems that introversion and a love of reading go hand-in-hand. My fellow employees at the library are all self-confessed introverts who would rather not be part of unorganized social situations. They’re all readers (of course) and they’re all cat people. (But that’s a different story.)
I’m not saying extroverted people don’t read. They do. I’m just saying that for me, reading is a natural part of who I am, as much as being introverted is who I am. I contend that extroverts read more for information and introverts read more for entertainment. Do you agree? Disagree?
What are your reading habits and preferences? Do they align with your personality?
Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself.