The teacher I am the most thankful for

This is a simple question for me, but it might not be for everyone. I am a poet, a journalist, and a creative nonfiction writer. The teacher who springs to mind, is my 6th grade teacher in Pleasant Hill, California. Every afternoon, when we had just finished lunch and recess time, Mr. Simon would have us file into the classroom quietly and lay our heads down on our desks and close our eyes. He didn't want us to be distracted by anything! Then, he would read us long stories. He read with a clear, strong voice that comforted us and made us feel safe even as he read about wildfires and floods. This was a special time in my life because I was being taught how to listen to the sound of words. I could not see, smell, or touch them, but I could listen. Learning to appreciate reading is all about developing good listening skills. I do think that listening to the sounds of words makes you a good writer and one who has a mind stuffed full of great vocabulary. Listening. Reading. Reading Aloud. Great vocabulary. Language development. These things are all interconnected.


I can certainly relate to this listening to reading stories during my formative years.  The one story that I can remember to a teacher reading aloud a book, would be in 4th grade in a Catholic private school.  I would listen to this teacher recount the story of one of Judy Bloom's 'Fudge' and it drew many bouts of laughter all through out. I couldn't agree more that reading must a critical component that must be applied for all kids ages 1-8 on the night before going to bed so the word vocabulary and language development can be established as each child would gain mastery and readiness to succeed with school. 


Barbara S.

Personalized Tutoring

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