Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 11, 2007

Learning to Read Memories

A character in the chapter book I’m writing is struggling to learn to read. She’s a noisy, busy girl, unlike the quiet kid I was, who grew up in a very different time and place, but I’ve thought back to my first encounters with the printed word. I remember my older sister placing a book she’d been allowed to take home from first grade in my hands. A book with few bold words and many pictures, specifically meant for learning to read. I don’t think my sister said much, if anything, but her expectation that this book would crack secrets meant something. I remember pressing this book to my heart, hearing a yellow school bus go by, feeling as if that loud bus bestowed some magic. So this was what that crazy alphabet song was about. I wanted more than the few words I’d mastered, but it was cool to feel I was on my way.

Do you remember your first attempts at reading? I’d love to hear.



  1. I do.
    For Christmas one year my grandma bought me a children’s Bible. I was BLOWN AWAY by the beautiful Noah’s arc/rainbow image and would look at it over and over again. Words were on the left hand page, the illustration was on the right. I remember glancing at those words from time to time. They always looked liked ants on the page. Then one day, those ants lined themselves up and I could make out WORDS. Big day. 🙂

  2. What a fantastic memory. Ants kind of marching up two by two on the plank to the ark…It is a small miracle. Thank you for taking the time to share!

  3. I remember memorizing The Bear’s Toothache and believing I was reading the words. But the day I really learned to read, all the letters magically came together for me and finally things clicked and made sense.
    See Spot. See Spot run. Run Spot, Run!
    I never looked back. And thankfully, I moved on from the Dick and Jane books pretty quickly.

  4. Jo, your memory is impressive! I did get sick of Dick and Jane when I had to sit in class and wait for kids to slooooowly get through the pages (we were scolded if we skipped ahead), but the books themselves held some charm for me. Maybe just cause they were the entryway. Of course I wouldn’t go back to them, as I would to The Cat in the Hat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: