How Emily and Cecilia learned to read

For bookseller Emily,  her memories on reading are clear. While history was Trish’s interest, science was Emily’s. All of us who grew up in the 90s probably remember the great days of class when the TV set was rolled in for a science unit and we got to watch Ms. Frizzle and her students shrink down to see what was making their classmate sick, or go where no man has gone before and explore the depths of space. Did you know though that there are books on those scientific adventures? Although at 5 years old, the text was a little too difficult for Emily (especially the long scientific terms), she enjoyed reading the speech bubbles of the somewhat comic-book style picture books. Emily remembers turning to page 9 of The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth, and reading the three speech bubbles on that page:

Student A: I couldn’t find any rocks.
Student B: I found one, but my dog ate it.
Student C: Your dog ate a rock?
The rest, of course, is history. As anyone who is an avid reader knows, once you start reading, there is no turning back. Anything and everything is a new adventure. Science books, and biographies, and most of all, fantasy. Emily remembers reading all the time in elementary school, and even getting in trouble sometimes for reading when she wasn’t supposed to (though, hasn’t that happened to us all?)
Cecilia swears, like many of us, that she must have been born with the ability to read. When I asked her, she could not remember reading anything before Little Women, but of course knows she must have read something before that. As a teacher herself, Cecilia knows the importance of being read to, and that is what her “learning-to-read” stories revolve around. Cecilia’s second grade teacher, Mrs. Bretz, would read out loud every day. Three of those story time stories stick out: The Giraffe and the Pelly and me by Roald Dahl, The Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka, and Bunnicula by James Howe. She remembers the class roaring with laughter at all three of those books, and now everything comes full circle as she has read those same three books to her third grade class (eliciting the same response of laughter). Cecilia remembers second grade being a great year for reading.

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