Thursday, August 12, 2010

So Many Books!

When I was in grade school, my classmates and I had to fulfill a reading requirement outside the classroom. I'm not sure how many years it was required, but I do know it was mandatory in at least the first and second grades.

The requirement was simple. We had to read a certain number of books in addition to the ones we all read in class. These extra books could be anything we wanted, as long as we read the entire book and not just a page or two. I believe the required number was 32.

At the beginning of the school year, we received a pre-printed form on which we (or a parent) were to write down the book titles. Then, at the end of the school year, we turned in the completed form. If we exceeded the requirement, we could continue the list on another sheet of paper, staple the pages together, and hand in the entire list. We didn't get any extra credit for them, but the teacher could see just how busy we'd been.

I was always an avid reader, read far above my grade level, and read just about anything I could get my tiny hands on. It always took me very little time to get through the required number of books. Just 32? No problem!

In the second grade, I was pretty pleased with my list. I'd read well over a hundred books and could easily have told you what happened in all of them if asked. (That was back when my memory was actually quite good, as opposed to now, when I probably couldn't tell you anything about what I read yesterday.)

I proudly gave my teacher the list. She glanced at it, scowled, and asked, "Why'd you read so many?"

Can you imagine?

Fortunately, her sour attitude didn't spoil my love of books.