Posted by: jeannineatkins | January 31, 2008

Where a Love of Reading Begins

What a thrill to be teaching children’s literature. My students just wowed me with short memoirs about times they first remembered loving to read. There were lots of big blankets and loving moms and dads, who their offspring honor for bedtime rituals, as well as reading the Little House books in a car to Virginia and back, and Ramona Quimby-Age 8 getting sandy on the beach. I read about “big red hymnals and stout black Bibles,” a boy playing Max of the Wild Things after getting kicked out of preschool, and a dad who, upon being told his son was reading below grade level, asked his son to read the labels of cans as he put them in the grocery cart. Madeline, BFG, Baby-sitters Club, American Girl series, Sesame Street, Goosebumps (with shiny embossed titles), Fox in Sox, Anne of Green Gables, Thorton Burgess, Good Dog, Carl and Charlotte’s Web (a sister’s coveted copy, while my student made do with The Trumpet of the Swan) all had their tributes. Two students mentioned having family members who, begged to read so often, made valued tapes of their readings.

One lucky student adored her grandfather’s Russian “Kvahk!” for “Quack,” which well conveyed the urgent need of the troubled duck in Edward Lear’s “The Duck and the Kangaroo” to get away. And I’m also crazy about the grandfather who read Encyclopedia Britannicas to a girl on his lap – angler fish to various poisons and parasites of the sea – while the step-grandmother simultaneously painted her fingernails red.



  1. Jeannine, what a touching post. I think you have a poem in here!

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