The year was 1971.
Mrs. Carter was my 7th grade home room school teacher.
She was grandmotherly both in nature and appearance and was always neatly dressed in a sweater and skirt. She wore gold rimmed glasses and spoke with a British accent.
Mrs. Carter introduced me the concept that reading could be fun. She was also the first person that I can remember who ever read to me.
Looking back, it’s been hard to for me to remember the first book that she read to us. If I had to make a guess, I’d say the book was THE MOUSE THAT ROARED.
It was read to us in small doses as class time permitted. Sometimes we got to listen to her read for five minutes. Sometimes we got a full half hour.
We all enjoyed listening to her lovely British cadence. I was struck by the confident manner she showed to us as she read. She seemed to actually enjoy reading aloud in front of others.
I wondered if I would ever be able to read a story to someone else.
My first introductions to reading aloud in front of others was in school and always tinged in awkwardness and embarrassment, I’m sure we all remember that uncomfortable feeling.
When I was six years old, my Father would make me read him a story from my German book of Grimm fairy tales. Then, the purpose of reading was all about practising my German and had little to do with sharing joy.
The first books that I remember reading in their entirety on my own were the TRIXIE BELDEN mystery series when I was nine years old. After that I read CHERRY AMES, STUDENT NURSE and then the NANCY DREW mysteries. I was twelve years old by the time I finished them.
As my children were growing up I tried to make it a point to read to my daughters from time to time. I read them the CHRONICALS OF NARNIA and the HARRY POTTER series. My impression of Hagrid was very well received.
Then there was the time that I was reading a particularly touching Christmas novel THE TIMEPIECE by Richard Paul Evans to my youngest daughter. While I was overcome with teary emotion, my daughter handed me one tissue after another as I wept inconsolably while reading the final chapter.
Indeed, the joy of sharing a book with someone else can be a very good thing.
Thank you Mrs. Carter.