Addie's Literacy History
My unique literacy story
She read everything you could think of.
From top of my class to failing my Achievement test
Kindergarten - 1st Grade
Most of kindergarten is a complete blur as to actually learning to pronounce sounds and learning the basics of reading. I do recall the end of my kindergarten year though. We had a huge bear claw tub in our room and the 'Reader of the Week" was rewarded time in the tub to read during silent reading and guess what I was always in that tub. I could read circles around all of the children in my class. This continued into first grade. I was rewarded on multiple occasions for my excellent reading skills, including a "Charlotte's Web" stuffed pig. That just encouraged me to read even more, eventually finding my favorite book of all time, "Go, Dog. Go."
2nd - 3rd Grade
Second grade was fairly easy and I still was one of the top readers my class. These simple short stories were easy to read and I couldn't wait to start in on something a little more challenging. At the end of 2nd grade I really started to struggle. I not only had to read, but I had to comprehend too. I could still out read anyone in my class, but the comprehension just wasn't there. Since I was such a fluent reader my teacher didn't put much thought into it and never was too concerned. I was embarrassed and slowly stopped reading with my mom, so she wouldn't figure out that I had a problem. The beginning of 3rd grade was rough. There were these things called chapter books and I could have read in 10 minutes, but I couldn't tell you what happened or why. Mrs. Rigg, which was my teacher at the time, saw that I had a problem and introduced me to "Junie B. Jones" books. She thought that easy read and humor of these books would help my mind to actually pay attention to what was going on. She was right. I could actually pick up a book read it and discusses it afterwards. The only problem was "Junie B. Jones" wasn't going to be my life long reading pal. I was disappointed and embarrassed that I went from being so smart and at the top to barely squeaking in reading.
The Dreaded 4th Grade
By this point I had convinced my teachers and parents that I really didn't have a problem and I knew what I was doing when it came to reading. Boy, was I wrong and I found that out really quickly when we started 'training' for the Ohio Achievement Tests. I was too embarrassed to ask for help and my teacher didn't care all that much to figure out that the reason I wasn't doing my practice packets wasn't because my dog ate it, but rather because I didn't understand. So the dreaded day rolled around and I took the reading portion of the test. Needless to say I failed and I failed miserably. Now the embarrassment really sunk in. Three other students and I were pulled out of class and had to go to reading intervention. That's where the 'dumb' kids went, I was now a dumb kid. Mrs. Holt was my intervention teacher. She retaught all 4 of us how to read. She never saw me as dumb or incapable, but rather as a normal student that just needed a little extra help. I remember I went from being able to read so perfectly to stumbling over my words because I wasn't just reading, but my mind was now working double time to try to figure out what the words were actually saying. Mrs. Holt exposed me to more books than "Junie B. Jones". I could now read stories about how ketchup was made and completely understand it. Without Mrs. Holt i would have never passed the OAT on my second attempt. She is the reason that today I can read and comprehend at the same time, so thanks Mrs. Holt.
Kindergarten - 1st Grade
2nd - 3rd Grade
The Dreaded 4th Grade
The embarrassment stopped me from reading
5th - 8th Grade
I stopped reading. I hated it. I can't remember any book that I even thought about reading. I refused to even think about it. Every assignment that consisted of a lot of reading I just Sparknoted or asked a friend about. If we it was time to read out loud in class I would get up and go to the restroom or nurse. I was terrified to read in front of people because I now struggled and stumbled over my words while reading. What once helped me shine now made my look stupid. I squeaked by with B-'s or C's and did what I to do to passed, but secretly hated even the thought of reading. My parents weren't stupid and finally caught on to all my tricks. They hired a private tutor to come into our home, so I wasn't embarrassed, and to help me read. I worked a little with her but still didn't finding any joy from reading and gave up.
I remember so clearly receiving my first book report and it terrified me. Mrs. Daily was my teacher at the time and she allowed us to choose our own books. I wasn't stupid, so I chose the same book as all of my friends. We all decided to read "A Wrinkle in Time", well they decided to read it and I decided I was just going to listen to their discussions about it. Since reading didn't come easy to me I decided just not to do it. I found ways of squeaking by and doing the bare minimum to receive a B- or C in the class. I received a B+ on that book report, thanks to my creativity and my smart friends.
Mr. Ricker was my first male teacher that thoroughly enjoyed reading sports reports and boring guy stuff to the class. This just confirmed my belief that reading was boring and useless. He also read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. To this day I couldn't tell you what either of the books were about, except that there was a dog that dies in Where the Red Fern Grows and it made me cry. Mr. Ricker was not a very exciting or enthusiastic reader and did not keep my attention very long. He didn't have fun while reading and didn't care if the class was sleeping while he was reading. Having a teacher like this only encouraged me not to read even more than before.
7th & 8th Grade
In 7th and 8th grade I started to find ways around reading the full books. Sparknotes became my best friend and the red marking on my papers started to read "Explain more" or "More detail". I knew that Sparknotes weren't going to get me an A in the grade book but it would get me a B. Since I had already developed a hatred and laziness for reading I quite frankly didn't care if I got the A because I was okay with the B. Now that I look back I did just as much work finding the 'lazy/easy' way around doing my work and I missed out on so really great stories.
High School - College
As far as high school went, I pulled the same tricks as I did in middle school. I still no longer saw the need to read if I could just SparkNote everything and get a decent grade. The only difference in high school was that I actually picked up books up outside of school. I really enjoyed reading at my own pace and own interests. Am I still terrified to read out loud in front of a class? Of course I am because I'm not a very fluent reader, but I am slowly getting better and more confident. And yes, I am almost 20 and mom will still occasionally read to me.
In high school I took the easiest reading classes that were offered. I just wanted to credit to graduate without having to read and put much work into it. By the end of high school I hated the names John Steinbeck and Shakespeare. I remember reading Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Well let me rephrase that, I remember discussing and Sparknoting those book. All through high school and I was okay with a B or C and not doing much work. I read two books in high school and they were read on the outside of school. Those books were A Child Called "It" and The Shack, both of which triggered a lot of emotion. I absolutely love both of these book and actually read them multiple times. I learned that if I found books that provoked emotion in me I could put them down. I actually started to realize why people would ever read for 'fun'.
I soon found out that there is no Sparknotes for college text books and that it was and absolute requirement to read what is assigned. I also figured if I didn't read that's not only affecting me, but also my wallet. I learned to force myself to read what I was assigned. Am I going to lie and say that as soon as I started college I developed a love for reading. Absolutely not. I hope that someday I can say that, but as of now it's not the truth. These days I read what I HAVE to and have no time or interest to read for my own pleasure. I wish I was one of those people that could escape through a novel, but I'm not. Maybe someday I will though, until then million dollar college text books it is.