As I begin another semester, it is time to get back to blogging and this semester it will be about Adolescent Literature! For our first assignment we were told to write a story using five images about our past as readers. So, here goes!!
In highschool I LOVED reading. Not only did I read absolutely everything that my teachers gave me, (except The Scarlet Letter, BLAH) I was always reading outside of class too. My favorite part of any class was free time because that meant I got to catch up on my book, one I usually had a hard time putting down. I got teased a lot by my classmates because they thought reading was “nerdy.” I know that sounds like it came straight from a movie or TV show, but it is completely true. I would have kids take my book and hide it from me or take my bookmark out and tell me that I needed to stop reading. If I had a really good book, sometimes I would stay home from school just so I could finish it. I was addicted to say the least.
I really became interested in reading when I was in the 4th grade. I began reading Kristen Heitzmann’s book series called The Rocky Mountain Legacy series. It is a series about a girl living in the West in the late 1800’s. It amazed me. I read all of the books in that series at least ten times. It was a very adventurous book and the main character, Abby, gets in a lot of mischief and she was the kind of free-spirited girl that I wanted to be. I was so excited when my mom got the books for me for my birthday and I didn’t have to check them out from the library all the time anymore. People were always confused why I always had the same books, but I guess they just didn’t understand what it was like to love a book so much that you have to keep reading it until you know all the ins and outs of the characters and the story itself. My teacher almost did not let me check out this book from the library because to was above the 4th grade reading level, but I am so glad that she did. Why should we not let students read what they are comfortable with anyway? Why constraint them to the standards put on for the average student?
Shortly after I fell in love with reading books, I began loving poetry. I would read it and write it when ever I had free time, but to be honest, junior high poetry is not the best work I have ever done and those horrendous things are hidden far away from the rest of the world. I even began exploring all kinds of poets and poetry. My freshman English teacher was surprised at my extensive knowledge of sonnets when we started reading Shakespeare in her class. It was surprising to me that the rest of my peers did not know what they were, or even worse, who Shakespeare was! Nor did they care to know. They hated everything that we read in class and I loved it!
To Kill A Mockingbird was a big eye-opener to me as a reader. Before we read this for class Freshman year, I had never read anything that had subtext and a real message embedded into it. I realized then that books aren’t only to entertain people, but to teach them things and for the reader to learn. Some authors write to educate and that is an awesome thing to do. It also amazed me that my classmates cared little what the point of the book was really about, but they kind of read it, so it was what ever I guess.
We read The Scarlet Letter my junior year and that made me feel like I was really going to hate classic novels because I really did hate this one. It was so dry, and long, and the vocabulary was a little on the complex side. I hated it. I actually didn’t even read the whole thing and I slept in class when the teacher read it aloud, but it was super predictable so I was still able to BS my way through her questions about the book. At this point, my teachers and classmates both just expected me to answer all of the questions that the teachers asked in class, which was unfortunate for this book, but made me look really smart, so it was what ever. The bad thing was people always asking for help on their essays.
The book that redeemed classic novels was A Tale Of Two Cities. It can also be argued that it is dry and boring and there is no character development (except for Sidney Carton) and it is too coincidental and all that other jazz, which is all true, but I loved it because Dickens wrote it to tell England, “HELLO, things are about to get bad here in ol’ England like they did in France! Fix it!” I thought that was pretty cool and even though Madame Defarge was super evil, I loved her character. She was definitely the most complex and interesting. And she was a woman in charge, so that was pretty cool too.
Anyway, in conclusion, I loved reading in high school and English was definitely the best major for me. Especially English Education since I am so passionate about reading and teaching. I know my students may not care for my passion, but I can try to get them to see how great literature can be!