In the last week or so, I have started following two more blogs on books and reading to add to the others I have been following for awhile.
It has been awhile since I could really concentrate long enough to read a book. However, I do still love curling up when I can with a good page-turner, be it fiction, non-fiction or spiritual. It just takes me longer to get through it and I may have two or three on the go at one time.
On replying to one of the book bloggers I remembered how I came to be an avid reader in the first place. I mistakenly said it was my grade seven teacher. It was actually in grade five, but no matter as the teacher was one in the same!
Her name was Mrs. Juk and she is number one on a short-list of educators who really had an impact on my life. She was very aware of the bullying I was going through and had many conversations about it with my mom.
In grade five I was not at all a reader in any way, shape or form. My idea of reading was to look at the comics in the paper or my music sheets while practicing the piano. Seriously, I had no time or patience for words on a page.
Mrs. Juk believed I could love reading. She saw a need to encourage several students who loved reading or had the potential to. So, along with the school librarian, Mrs. Juk set up a reading contest with three groups of students.
- Those who loved to read were encouraged to take part
- Students who needed a nudge were automatically signed up
- Anyone who else who wanted to compete could.
I was in group number two. We had to read 12 books in an allotted time. My mother said it was like pulling teeth to get me through those 12 books. I remember staying up late the night before the contest with her finally reading the last few chapters of the last book to me so we could get it over with.
The next day all contestants were lined up in the library with everyone else watching (two grade five classes were involved). We were given questions on all the books and whoever put their hand up first with the correct answer got a point.
At first, I was bored. However, as I realized how much I knew, my competitive nature took over. In the end, this confirmed non-reader won a shiny new silver dollar for second place. I was so proud of that coin I kept it. I still have it to this day, wrapped in its original plastic wrap with “second place” written on it.
There was no remorse for not coming in first. I was so surprised and so proud, it did not matter. I never planned to win anything! The truth is, however, that the coin was not my grand prize. Mrs. Juk saw something in me that others hadn’t. She unlocked a love of reading that has stayed with me.
Escaping into a novel helped me forget the torment I felt from bullies (and from my own emotions), helped me to see myself as the heroine, and provided hours and hours of inner peace. I loved non-fiction as well, seeking answers for my moodiness.
The one area of reading where I do excel is in my faith. While I am not able to memorize more than a handful of verses by the words (though I can cite the book, chapter, and verse) I do a devotional every day and read the accompanying verses.
I also love reading all of your posts and while I sometimes lapse, I try to read and comment on as many as possible on good days.
So, my dear Mrs. J, I know you are watching down on me proud that I took classes in both Shakespeare and Mark Twain in university, that I read half the books on the shelves of my Dad’s store, and that I not only became a reader because of you but a writer as well.