Finding love for Reading

For anyone who knows me in real life knows, like every book blogger, I’m a super bookworm, I love to read, I always have, and around my friends, I’m also known as being an annoyingly fast reader.

Oddly enough, I didn’t really enjoy books until the Fourth grade. I used to have to stay after school in First grade with a few others to work on learning to read, it was a massive struggle for me but I got there in the end as far as learning how to.

Teachers thought I had no reading comprehension and I was known for not liking reading, I remember passing a book report on Little House on the Prarie in 3rd grade just from skimming it and making some stuff up. [Shhh my mother still does not know this and she doesn’t read this blog, so let’s keep it between us]

I really struggled and I hated how stupid I felt.

Then came along my reading teacher, Mrs. Retzloff. I remember her taking the time to notice me, and she didn’t just pass by my horrible reading grade.

Do you know what she found out?

I was reading things too fast.

I wasn’t actually having a difficult time reading anymore, my problem was that I was doing it too fast, skimming at times because I was reading at such a high speed and therefore not really taking anything in. As far as where my comprehension was at? She tested me and I had a nearly 6th-grade reading level ability and as someone who didn’t really want to touch books other than to look at the pretty pictures, that was saying something. She wanted me to enjoy reading and so she let me pick a book from her personal shelf in the classroom, and lo and behold I picked a book about children dealing with the mystery of a mummy.

This kind:

 

Not this kind:

[I guess I basically loved mystery type books from the beginning. Huh. Not surprised at my own revelation.]

Anyway, Mrs. Retzloff nurtured my love of reading, she let me pick lower level things still for a while, wanting to make sure I was enjoying it and then she gently helped push and nudge me along, my reading comprehension went past 6, 7, 8th grade, and this is how I read Brave New World in middle school. I wasn’t a genius, but I was a good reader and Mrs. Retzloff brought that out of me. She didn’t see someone who was dumb or lazy. [And let’s face it, some teachers, not most, do sometimes just see a child as unwilling, lazy, or ‘dumb’ and give up, but not all, a lot are like my Mrs. Retzloff.]

By the end of the year, I had succeeded in making a school record (I mean others were up there making the record too, not just me lol) for how many A.R. points I earned (you read a book and was quizzed on it afterwards via a computer) and I got put into honors classes in middle school and the honor society and I can say that would never have happened without that woman.

She is so dear to me even today, and I can’t remember the title of that book she lent me [which low key drives me INSANE] but I remember her. I remember patience and encouragement, her nurturing ways and finally, I was a child who was appreciative of the books my mother had given me with so much love and hope. And it wasn’t just me she helped, Mrs. Retzloff took it upon herself to try and have every single child who stepped through her door love a book, even if it was just one book.

I am so incredibly lucky because I can’t imagine where I would have been without her, people would have continued to think I was, well, not too bright, and I never would have been pushed. I owe a lot to her, especially because forget academics, she instilled a love of reading to me. It’s why I always try with my daughter because it’s one thing to not be a big reader, but I want her to enjoy whatever books she picks, to know that it’s something fun and not a chore.

Haha, this is so cheesy but I find myself getting quite emotional thinking about her, I went back to see her in high school and I was friends with her grandchildren, but, you know, we move, we get older, things change and I haven’t seen her in forever and I pray she’s still around helping children in my old school, I know she was still teaching even up to 4/5 years ago despite people wanting her to retire due to her age but is no longer at my old school.

So, thanks to Mrs. Retzloff for my love of reading, and to all the Mrs. Retzloffs who help kids that are and were like me.