One Page at a Time
To me literacy will always feel like a small miracle.
I was a slow reader. By second grade I was being pulled out of class daily for supplemental reading group, an embarrasment I could sense even at the age of seven. With four classmates in tow, we'd make our way out of Mrs. Rarick's classroom up the stairs into the snug confines of what must have been a janitors' closet, where an overworked specialist worked, willing the words of "See Jane Run" to emerge from our bitty bowtie mouths. But flashcards and phonics left me stymied.
It wasn't until my parents hired a personal tutor, a wonderful woman named Susan Paolella, that any improvement was made. Twice a week I'd be dropped off at the tiny home of Mrs. Paolella for one-on-one tutoring. Some days I'd sit on her couch and painfully sound out the words to "Frog and Toad Together." While others we'd bake biscuits in the shapes of letters and make delicious sentences at her stove. (A task that likely explains my hunger the minute I enter a bookstore.)
When I'd completed an assignment, like correctly pronouncing and defining a word, I'd be rewarded with Mrs. Paolella reading to me. Sitting on that couch, in the silence of her cozy home with no distractions, just the words on the page and the perfect cadence of a her voice, I fell in love with stories. Eventually I found Mrs. Paolella's books in my own tiny hands and like the sudden burst from a once leaky tap, after months of practice and patience I could look at a page and make the words come out of my mouth in fluid succession. Incredibly, I could read.
And I haven't been able to stop. This blog is an account of the books I'm currently reading. Enjoy to yourself, or feel free to read aloud.