This post isn’t exactly about writing but maybe part of the reason I have always wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t to show anyone up-hell, I’m not famous enough for that. It was the love of reading, and not the thought I could do it better than all the writing I have read, just the thought that I want to do that, invoke the same feeling in other’s that a great book invoked in me.
A fantastic book can take you to places you couldn’t go as a child or teen or even an adult with very little money. You can visit far, far away exotic lands or worlds. Meet amazing and fascinating people or creatures, encounter horrendous monster’s that almost rival real life.
The key is in comprehension when it comes to reading. In school kids are taught to read and supposedly comprehend what they have read. That is not always the case. I don’t know when you went to school or where and if I tell you when I went you may figure out my age. HaHa.
I will tell you this, I am in my 40’s, proud I made it this far but that is all about that. I therefore went to school around 30 years ago. I have never told many people this, if any; I HATED SCHOOL. I went so as to not be a problem and because they had books there. Of course, not at first. The first school I went to was in rural Tennessee. Back then I don’t really remember what they taught us but it wasn’t reading. I do recall we would write random numbers and letters on paper turned the wrong direction with wide lines and broken lines in between. That was in the first grade.
Then my parent’s decided we’d move to Illinois and I went to school there. In the second grade in Illinois they were mortified to learn I could not read. Not one single word, not the words: is, the, run, no words at all.
This lead to me being taken from class every single day, put in a room at a table by myself with a set of headphones on and a tape recorder for an hour, twice a day. I didn’t realize it then but I could read. Oh, by the way, it was phonics on the recorder, learning alphabet sounds and sounding words out.
We went back to Tennessee and I was the only third grader that could read. I don’t think that you learned how to actually read until 5th grade in Tennessee back then.
One of the main reason’s I didn’t like the school system was the fact that if you seemed to be halfway intelligent they didn’t seem to like it. They didn’t have any encouraging words for a student that showed any academic skills except for a certain set, such as the few local kids whose parents owned the grocery store or made money with the tombstone monument business or the mayor’s kid.
Now, this isn’t really fair to all the teacher’s in this school but for the most part it was true.
There was one thing they would do with a list of spelling words. The teacher would split the class up into a boy team & girl team and have a mini-spelling contest. If you were the winner of the spelling contest on either team you wouldn’t have to take their spelling test. Of course it was usually always the same girl and boy that won every time. I was that girl and I remember the boys name but I won’t say it here.
This went on of course for the most part of the year and I kept reading every book in the library of this school. Then one day there was a spelling contest and I again would not have to take the spelling test. This apparently didn’t set too well with another student that got mad and said it was unfair I had won yet again. The teacher stands at the front of the class and informs the other students that they are probably much better readers than I am because as she says, “good spellers aren’t ever good readers and good readers aren’t good spellers.”
With all of the logical reasoning a child has I informed her that was a stupid comment for the simple fact that if a person couldn’t spell or know how to spell a word, then how did they even know what words they were reading? I got sent to the principal’s office for that. I still feel like they were wrong for punishing me over that because she should have never said what she did in the first place.
Another incident involved reading library books. The real librarian was out for the day and one of my class teachers was taking her place. When I went to check out a particular library book she refused to let me check it out. The book was “Little Men.” She informed me I had no business reading it. I had just turned in “Little Women.” It wasn’t a matter of me being a girl she just thought the book was too thick or beyond my reading capabilities. She said I should choose a smaller book, meaning with less pages. “Maybe you should read one of the Hardy Boys books,” she said. I told her I had already read them all.
After being sent to the office she was then allowed to make me write a one page book report on each of the Hardy Boys books. I had to do it in one week and when she saw that the real librarian let me check out “Little Men” she took it from me until it was due back to the library.
Needless to say, I did read that book, and every one in that school library. I got a certificate for that but wasn’t allowed to be receive it at the graduation of other achievements such as people who didn’t miss a day of school for a year. My certificate was mailed to my home and it was never mentioned that I never had to take a spelling test because I had always won the spelling contest on the girl’s team.
So, I do not write because I was embarassed all throughout school for being an avid reader or because I was laughed at twice by a teacher for saying I wanted to be a writer or to get even with pathetic teachers that ridiculed me for reading beyond my level; I write because I want to and those teachers, even though they were small-minded, made me stronger. They also make good background material for inconsequential “little” characters.