Learning to Read

Children today read at a very early age.  When I was a child in kindergarten, learning colors was the big deal.  Reading didn’t come until first grade.  “See Spot.  See Jane.  See Dick and Jane.”

In 1955, I entered kindergarten in the Vail Public School at the age of four.  I would turn five a month after school began.  Catholic schools didn’t provide kindergarten in the 1950s.

My memory of kindergarten is rather shaky, but as an adult, my mom filled in some details.  One of those memories was precious.

The kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Boeck.  She talked to mom one day and told her that I had an exceptional memory.  Would mom help me to memorize the words in a book so that I could pretend to narrate while other kindergartners acted out the story of the book?  Mom agreed.

By the way, I did have a unique memory.  I can’t say that it was a photographic memory or that I had perfect recall, but I never had a calendar to write things down until I was in my forties.  Then, I wrote things down on the calendar because that is what people did.  I was also whiz at Trivial Pursuit.  I remembered things that didn’t matter.

Mom didn’t help me memorize; she taught me how to read.  I was far ahead of my classmates in that respect.  Several of them caught up to me as we progressed through elementary school.  Many surpassed me in high school.  My fault – I never truly applied myself.

The big night came in the kindergarten room.  All the parents were assembled in big people chairs.  The kindergarten chairs were arranged in the front to represent trees.  It was an imaginary forest.  No longer do I remember the story, but I do recall Anne and Glen as two of the main characters.

Mom was proud.  She told me that my aunt thought her son should have had the role of narrating the story.  He didn’t get the part that was mine, but he may have had a more memorable part in the event that evening.  Immediately prior to the beginning, mom said you could hear him yell as loud as anything: “I have to go to the toilet.”  I guess my aunt nudged her husband, my uncle, and said: “you take him.”

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1 Response to Learning to Read

  1. Robin Mehaffey says:

    Very cute story. 🙂

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