Thursday, December 2, 2010

More on my reading life

I ask my first year students to write about their reading life in one of their first journal entries.
Their responses tell me about the lovers of reading, and those who hate to read - and who, consequently, are in for a hard time in college.

Of my own reading life... I have always loved to read. Right from the beginning. I wrote a poem about those first words in first grade:

Pick it up and read,

sang the child's voice beyond the wall.
The first word was SAID.
Three children -
a boy and two girls,
played with a dog and a cat.
White children with brown hair
whose plain names excited me
to hear in the air from my own mouth.

I had trouble telling
through from thought,
though from thorough.

My father picked me up at school.
We walked by the statue of Saint Agnes,
through the cement arch
from schoolyard to street.
I thought about knowing how to read SAID
though, by itself, it was lying alone in a corner,
but put it behind someone,
and it opens its mouth to a thorough coverage
of the news of the day.

I remember my delight at learning to read. I've been reading rather indiscriminately ever since.

When I got to college, I was sorry I had had such minimal guidance in choice of books, and consequently, such a dearth of classics under my belt. I have made up for lost time since then,in my years teaching literature.

In the past two years, I have discovered and come to love the book blogs and podcasts I can get on my iPod. One of my favorites is Books on the Nightstand.

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