Last week I was reshelving books when a certain title caught my eye. My memories were immediately flooded with my 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Grabeel, reading to us after lunch each day. Honestly I remember nothing about this particular book, but what I do remember is sitting enthralled each and every school day as this teacher took time after lunch to read to us. Just read. We were never quizzed. There was not a list of facts we were required to regurgitate on a comprehension test. She just read.
My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Elkins, loved to reward her students with books. If a student accomplished a certain goal or won an award or simply made great progress, she gifted that student with a book. My Trixie Belden collection started with this one. I still have the very copy from 1972 that she gave me.
I was pondering the legacy they left me...and wondering how many children are being blessed with this legacy now. Times have certainly changed since I was a public-schooled girl in the 60's and 70's. Common Core, standardized tests and the race to the top, not to mention revisionism, Darwinism and worse have stripped most classrooms of any living ideas. What would happen if teachers were free to spend just 10 minutes after lunch reading to their students. Just reading. Wonderful fiction, inspiring biographies, thrilling adventures. How would this change the face of our culture?
I wish my teachers could see what became of their investment of reading. Mrs. Grabeel moved away a few years after I left her classroom. Mrs. Elkins passed away a few years ago after a brave battle with cancer. Their love of books and of the ideas contained within, however, are still alive and well in me and in those who enter my library doors. And the legacy is being passed on to future generations.