Once I learned to read at the age of five there was no stopping me. I read the back of cereal boxes and the ingredients in every can in the kitchen. I loved rhyming books the most. It was a special treat when my stepfather came home from the grocery store with Archie and Veronica comic books. The Sunday comics were something I waited for all week. Once I discovered Nancy Drew I wanted to be a detective. She was smart, confident and curious.

In school I usually had the task of helping the struggling readers. I often wondered why the teacher didn’t work more closely to bring along students who couldn’t read as well. I didn’t mind, as I was usually bored with the stories in the designated reader.

The teachers I remember the most are those who presented a book in a way that grabbed my attention. When I read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, I was wanting to know more. I didn’t want the book to end. One teacher introduced me to Shakespeare and I was hooked. She would ask open-ended questions and put us in groups to discuss and act out pivotal scenes. Another teacher introduced me to classics, Moby Dick, The Grapes of Wrath, Beloved, The Alchemist, My Antonia, The Call of the Wild, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Pearl, and so many more.

I have always escaped into books. It has been a way to learn of other ways of living, exploring different perspectives, trying out new vocabulary. Books are my friend, a constant I can count on for entertainment as well as enlightenment. On top of my dresser is a basket filled with “To Be Read” books. My guess is that it will always be full.

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