Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slice of Life- August 20, 2013 -Blogiversary

Each Tuesday Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life Stories (SOLS). This is where bloggers link up to share anything they would like to share about what is happening in their lives. 

Last week I reflected on my first year of blogging and wrote a top ten list of highlights.  It was fun to look back at all the people I have met and all the opportunities that I have had because of my connections started through my blog.  For my SOLS and blogiversary today I am reposting my first 2 posts about my reading history and how I came up with the title for this blog.  It is long story, but I think it serves as a cautionary tale for teachers and explains my passion for creating lifelong readers.  

Here is my post from one year ago today.

Welcome to my new book blog.  I started it because it is my passion to connect children with books they will love in hopes of creating lifelong readers.  I plan to use this blog to review and recommend books for children and discuss successful literacy activities from my fourth grade classroom.

But let's start with how I came up with the blog name.
I was indeed a late reading "bloomer".  I did not start reading for enjoyment until I was in my mid twenties.

As a child I remember feeling smart, but I had a difficult time learning how to read.  I was the kind of kid who would read a page and have no idea what happened.  In third grade, my teachers tried to help me by placing me in the lowest level reading group to read our basal readers.  I remember the day that I was demoted from the middle reading group to the lowest group.  That was the day I learned that I was not smart and I was not expected to succeed (at least that is how my third grade self felt).

So I accepted my fate and continued through elementary school on my path of mediocrity.  I have brief glimmers of enjoyable reading experiences during this time.  I loved when our teacher or librarian read to us.  Our school librarian read Ticki Ticki Tembo by Arlene Mosel to us and I loved it so much that now it is one of my favorite picture books to read to my students.

In school I read because I HAD to.  I do not remember any teacher showing me that reading could be enjoyable or suggesting any great books for me.  

To make a long story short, I finished school and barely squeaked into college.  All the while I still never read for any reason other than to do my assignments and I was training to become a TEACHER!  How would I ever be able to inspire my students to read? 
I managed to graduate from college with a degree in special education (the fact that I was ill-prepared to teach reading is another topic altogether).

It wasn't until I was about 24 years old that I started to read for enjoyment.  I can't remember what I started reading, but I found that I LOVED it.  I was so surprised, excited and, well ANGRY!  Yes I was so furious that I had missed out on all those books growing up.  Just imagine all the children's books that I did not read.   So I have been making up for lost time reading children's books constantly (and slipping in a few grown-up books in between). I am now the type of reader who is never without a book.  The type that loses sleep because I just need to read one more chapter. 
After I finally learned how to teach reading, I became almost obsessed with making sure my students had access to great books and a teacher who was over-the-moon excited about them.  It has become my passion to make sure that every child leaves my fourth grade class feeling smart and loving to read.  I don't want a single child to have to wait, like me, or worse to never become a reader.  

Thanks so much to anyone who has visited this year!


  1. Happy Blogiversary!!! So exciting.

  2. Happy Blogiversary. I am coming up on 50 posts and have blogged since March and have found myself thinking about some of the same things you are at this juncture. Congratulations on all of the opportunities that have presented themselves to you as the result of your blog. And congratulations on all of the people who you have moved and influenced because you share your words!

  3. Happy blogiversary, Gigi! You've made me want more than ever not to miss one student! The good thing is that you've now read many of those books you missed & enjoyed them, I bet. Great post to help us all remember what the struggling readers need! Thank you!

  4. WOW! Your story sounds so much like me and I taught first grade mostly, a grade where learning to read is vital. I too read because I had to until I was in my twenties, maybe late 20s, and discovered reading. Now I read voraciously and usually 2-4 books going at a time. I just started my blog for the same reasons as I think reading is sooooo wonderful and important. Thanks for coming by The Reader and The Book too! I appreciate it and will be back over here.
    ~ linda

    1. Thanks for your support Linda. I will be sure to check out your blog. I appreciate the visit.

  5. How sad for you as a child, but how lucky for all the students who will pass through your class. It's a day to celebrate! Congratulations!

  6. Loved reading about your reading adventures. I had the same experience with my writing identity. Even though I thought I could teach writing without becoming a writer, I was never comfortable with that notion. At 40 I found my writing voice and life was never the same again. Does that sound familiar?

    1. It certainly does sound very familiar. I am finding that many educators have similar experiences. Maybe that is why we became teachers.