It is good to read.

I like this piece by Jon Pitts in the Baltimore Sun

That prospect harks back to her Texas childhood. Having listened in on Little Women – and sobbed with her mother when the character Beth died – the future first lady went on to discover other Louisa May Alcott works, including Jo’s Boys and Little Men. She identified with Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie – “we had the same name, and we both had brown hair,” she said – and felt she grew up with that character.

As a Texas schoolteacher, she read to rapt fourth-grade classes from Charlotte’s Web, Old Yeller and other American classics. “I read aloud in the period after lunch,” said Bush, who believes that activity promotes emotional bonding and builds children’s self-esteem. “It was the students’ favorite time. Sometimes it seemed as if Charlotte and the other characters were right there in the room with us.”

I had a fourth grade teacher who read aloud to us. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeiler, Harriet the Spy, A Wrinkle in Time, Treasure Island! Aaarghghg!

What a gift she was! And do you know, I read all those books to my children. And now they are grown, sometimes I read them again, just for myself, because they as wonderful today as they were the first time I heard them, read by Miss McNeil.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • tracey

    Oh, I remember “The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”! I had dreams about living in a museum for a long time after that. Sigh ….

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  • March Hare

    My 5th Grade teacher read us several of the books from “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” series. I wish her motives and ours were pure… Sad to say, she was in over her head trying to teach and we knew that if we got her to read to us we wouldn’t have to do any other work, like Math. :)

  • OBloodyHell

    My Mother read to me from an early age, so I never really needed these sorts of things to make me want to read. I started first grade reading at a second-grade level and it only went up from there… by the fifth grade (1968) I was reading 2001: A Space Odyssey (looking back, I know I didn’t understand a fair chunk of it, mind you — but enough with having seen the movie) — and I *did* read the whole thing.

    That timely movie event (plus another SF piece in the 5th grade reader) led me inevitably towards SF and Robert Heinlein — E.E. Doc Smith and Isaac Asimov. *sigh*. There are times one misses being young and naive. Not sensibly, one is put in mind of Bertrand Russell’s 10th “Commandment for Philosophizers”, but it was nice when things seemed so much simpler.

  • ricki

    How does the saying go?

    “Richer than I, you will never be; for I had a mother who read to me”?

    (of course, “richer” = emotional and spiritual riches, not material).

    My mom read to me. My teachers in school read to me. And for a couple years in grade school, we had a short but wonderful time at the end of the day that was called “Free Reading Time” or (if they wanted to be all Education School about it) “Sustained Silent Reading Time.” We were allowed to either bring a book from home or use one from the classroom bookshelves (do classrooms even have individual bookshelves any more?). We could sit at our desks, or on them, or under them – the only requirement was that we read quietly and didn’t bother the other children.

    I remember reading Harriet the Spy, and the Narnia books (read those MANY times, never could get enough of them), and “Mixed-up Files”, and E. B. White’s stuff, and the Oz books, and the Little House books…