Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to School Blog Month: A Boy Reads

Reading. The one word I first think of when I think of school. Reading is the most important function of our education system, the most important skill taught in our schools. Reading is the foundation skill, it opens the door of opportunity. My three choices for MuseItUp's Back to School Blog Month describe incidents of reading from my younger days. Happy back to school to all!

Jack London's TO BUILD A FIRE
A great winter tale on man's struggle versus nature. Click the title to link to a copy of the story if you want to read (or re-read it). This story almost always pops into my head whenever we get a good deep snow to shovel or a real cold snap. Probably one of the stories that really lit the spark on me becoming a reader.
I am sure I had some sort of learning disability as a kid. Probably still do (especially if you ask my people for their opinion). I was a slow developer, a stereotype of the big, dumb lineman football jock even at an early age. Today, I would probably be in several federally mandated sp. ed programs, but in bygone years at my lower middle class Catholic grade school, the teacher usually would send you down to a learning center, a.k.a storage room, to work with a volunteer on some special lessons. Once, in 6th grade, I went down to the reading help session and was given a mimeographed copy of TO BUILD A FIRE. I sat down at a folding table placed between walls of textbooks boxes and ran my finger and eyes over the first line "Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey...".
Everything in the room disappeared. I found myself in the Yukon looking over the shoulder of the "new-comer" in his struggle for survival. I was transformed, the locked door to books kicked open, snapped from its hinges. Life would never be the same again.


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