A-apple, B-boat, C-cat, D-dog, E-elephant. The slow, steady rhythm of the voice on the record player continued through the sound of each letter with its corresponding word in the phonics series used in our home. We had no television, so the record player was always in use. I can still see the worn out pictures of the letters and matching words which were used by my older brothers and sisters, and eventually by me. By the time I started Kindergarten I was already an eager reader. “Are You My Mother?” “Go Dog, Go.” “Adventures with Jane.” The list is endless.
I distinctly remember our Kindergarten classroom. It was in our small school’s lunch room. The walls were decorated with a giraffe showing numbers, and the classic alphabet script on the wall. A train with a single word on each car grew in length each day as a new word was added. I still remember the conversation that Mrs. Wickman had with me. She let me know that she knew I could read the new words, but she was going to call on a different student each day. I’m sure I still continued to raise my hand in anticipation of being called to read the new word.
Another great adventure in our small town was the arrival of the Bookmobile. It was a rolling treasure chest. Every two weeks it would bring another book in the “Little House on the Prairie” series, or the biographies of famous people. Any book you could dream of was on the bookmobile. Stepping into the mobile library always brought a sense of smell like no other. It smelled like an adventure.
As time passed, the traditional favorites of “Green Eggs and Ham” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” were passed to my sons, as reading became a daily activity, either snuggled up on the couch, or as a bedtime routine. “Read it again!” was a welcome chant from a little voice.
Another page has turned, and now, I am the teacher at that same little school in that same little town. On the first day in my classroom, with my own elementary students gathered around, I found myself once again lost in an adventure within the print of a book. The usual noise from the classroom was at a hush as we were transported to the hull of a ship, just as a new foal was being born. Where was the ship going? Where did it come from? We’ll find out tomorrow, right after lunch.