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My Reading Journey: From Child to Teacher

My Reading Journey: From Child to Teacher

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Published by olsonjen

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Published by: olsonjen on Jun 23, 2009
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06/22/2009

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—Vicki Gina Hanson—
EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAM TEACHER
Vicki is in the middle of her third year of teaching. She has taught at Maysville Elementary in Maysville, Georgia, for all three years. For the first two years, she taught earlyintervention program (EIP) reading to first and second graders in small groups. Vicki is still an EIP teacher, butshe is teaching reading to kindergarten through fifth grades in small groups as well.In her childhood and teens, Vicki was an avid reader and sometimes found it difficult to juggle the time spentwith work and the time spent curled up with a good book. By examining the importance of reading for enjoyment asan adult, Vicki is now much more aware of and able tofight the time constraints at school and make reading a  priority. Since the seminar, Vicki is much more aware of how important it is for a teacher to be a reader as well.When she hit reality without the support of the seminar  participants, teaching—the job she loves—took over again.Vicki’s favorite reading during the seminar was L 
OST 
 AYSEN 
by Margaret Mitchell (1997). She read it in one day,in fact. Not only was it exciting to find another book by the author of G
ONE
ITHTHE
IND
(1937/1996), but thehistory behind the new book also was enticing to her as a reader. By reading the foreword of L 
OST 
 AYSEN 
 , Vicki foundout that Mitchell had requested that all her manuscriptsbe destroyed in the event of her death. Mitchell wrote thestory and gave it to one of her beaus; a family member of  the beau found it years later. The fact that the tale, a  tragic love story, was given to Mitchell’s beau interestedVicki. L 
OST 
 AYSEN 
also includes photographs of Mitchell’slife and times, which really added to Vicki’s enjoyment of  the book.
 150
 
CHAPTER 16
My Reading Journey:From Child to Teacher 
 Vicki Gina Hanson
was the night before Christmas, and all through thehouse, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”(Moore, 1823/2002, p. 1). My mother tells of many nightsthat I chose this book and “read” with her, having memorized theprint on the page. I remember being totally taken with the picturesand imagined myself watching Santa’s belly shake like a bowl full of  jelly. I even went so far as to “see” Santa one Christmas Eve in myliving room!When thinking of my own childhood reading, I also rememberan obscure book titled
You’re Going out There a Kid, but You’reComing Back a Star 
(Wallner, 1984), a story about the troubles of a preteen girl who desperately wants to be older. When I camehome from school, having just found out that the boy I had a crushon liked someone else, I curled up with this book and shared mytragedy with the main character. Somehow, I didn’t seem so aloneanymore.Books have generated lifelong curiosities for me. Myfascination with historical fiction, especially about pioneer times,began with
 Little House on the Prairie
(Wilder, 1953). I canremember the joy that bubbled up in me when I found
On the Way  Home: The Diary of a Trip From South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, 1894
(Lane, 1962) and
West From Home: Letters of  Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 
(MacBride, 1994).Because of the Little House books, some of my favorite authorstoday, Lori Wick and Francine Rivers to name a couple, are oneswho also have written of pioneer times.
 151
 
Books often have given me confidence. When I heard myparents arguing, when I was going through middle school misery,and when I went away to college, I immersed myself in myfavorites. I mentally walked with Anne Shirley by a lake of shiningwaters (Montgomery, 1998) in much the same way as I nowmentally ride in the covered wagons of the women in JaneKirkpatrick’s novel
 All Together in One Place: A Novel of  Kinship, Courage, and Faith
(2000) when I want to escape fromeveryday life.Imagine me, this girl who has always been a lover of booksand the stories that they painted in my imagination, actuallygetting to teach reading, my favorite thing, all day, every day to firstand second graders. This job, which I consider a blessing, alsocarries with it the responsibility to be a person who opens up theworld by opening books and inviting students to travel the pages of print and experience new people, places, and events.As an EIP teacher in a school that is filled with students whoaren’t living the lighthearted life that we think of as childhood, Iencounter students who struggle with neglect,hopelessness, and the worries of adulthood. Iwant to be able to show the students how much joy is in the world by offering them thecompanionship of books.As teachers, we often feel so bound bycurriculum and the correct way to teach thatwe don’t sit down and think about what is reallybest for each of our students and theirdevelopment as people who live in the world with us. As a third-year teacher, I think back on my anticipation and nervousnessabout my first year of teaching. I was just out of college anddetermined to follow the manuals and programs that I was given. Iam sure that the students grew as readers, but as I think back onthat year, I remember how I felt guilty pulling a book off theshelves and reading to the students just for fun at the end of eachperiod. I am thankful that my desire to convey to my students mylove of reading and to foster this love is overcoming the guilt. Iwould and still do read to the students from
The Twits
(Dahl,
 152
Hanson
 This job, which I consider a blessing,also carries with it the responsibility tobe a person whoopens up the world byopening books.

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