I've been writing about my memories of learning to read for one of my classes this semester. I was surprised by how emotional the process was. I've decided to add excerpts of it to this blog over the next few days. I don't know if awareness of how I became literate will show me how to help students who have grown up in a completely different environment become literate. I guess I'll find out more in class tonight.
My first experiences with reading and language occurred long before I was capable of making memories. I think it began when I was in the womb. My parents spoke to me, read to me, and sang for me before I was born, and continued to do so ever since.
My mother stayed home with me during the first three years of my life, and during this time I watched a lot of Sesame Street, learned my letters through songs, and listened to books on tape. My favorite was Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman. I listened to it until I knew what every page was supposed to sound like.
Once, my grandmother tried reading this book to me. She’d start with the title but she wouldn’t read the author’s name. I remember telling her, “No Gran, you’re doing it wrong!” because the tape always said the author’s name and publishing house before reading the story.