In second grade, we had book reports to do every week. These were typically little worksheets with fill in the blank spaces. My mother didn’t think it was enough for me to just answer the questions on the worksheet. In addition to the worksheet, she’d make me create a detailed summary about the book I read and write it out on yellow legal pad paper. If I wrote it messily, she’d make me write it over again. When it met her approval, it was stapled to my book report form and turned in to my teacher. Writing these book reports became the bane of my young existence. In the long run, I think it paid off because when I entered third and fourth grade, my teachers lauded my ability to write clear, cohesive stories. Writing became a passion that never left me when I realized how enjoyable it was to write about whatever I wanted.
In second grade, I was bullied and picked on. I began bringing books from home and escaping to the class library to read when other students were playing. My family moved often until I was about thirteen, and reading continued to be an escape for me when I was sad or lonely.
After teaching second grade for a year I have a better understanding about what books are written at a second grade level. It wasn’t until then, that I realized I was actually reading more complex books in second grade than the rest of my peers. While other kids were reading books about Clifford or The Bernstein Bears, I was reading all the chapter books I could get my hands on.