I thought that this week would be the perfect time to give thanks for the wonderful people who introduced me to reading.
Miss Betty: My childhood nanny never let a day go by without reading me a book, or seven. She was the first person to introduce me to a public library and the wonders it held.
Mrs. Vooys: Her passion for books was contagious! She always found ways to introduce us to new historical periods, like the time she recited the opening of Canturbury Tales or the time we spent two months learning about Elizabethan assassination plots. She made forgotten literature fun, having my English class rap Colin Clout to hilarious results. She never told me that a book was out of reach and encouraged me to delve deeper than we had time to in class.
Mr. Stephenson: Sure, the first day (or month) of class was a little terrifying but I’ve seen someone so enamored with the written word! Mr. Stephenson would recite passages from a myriad of poems and stories…I’m still not sure how he remembered them all.
Mr. Lentz: Arriving at Kenyon, there was one piece of advice I received from every person on campus: take a class with Mr. Lentz. I signed up for his 8am Achilles’ Children class with a bit of trepidation, but soon realized how right everyone was. He introduced us to a new way of thinking about literature, supporting us as we made copious mistakes along the way. I have him to thank for my appreciation of Milton, Franklin, Thoreau and Shakespeare!
And last but not least, my mother. She encouraged my love for reading by spending every night one fall reading Anne of Green Gables to me before bed. Though my first reaction was “It has too many words!” she persevered and I eventually went on to read the entire series. She spent countless hours with me holed up in Barnes and Noble, never complaining when just one more chapter turned into the rest of the book. She introduced me to a myriad of books, some a bit above my reading level like the time when her book club read The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B…and I stole the book even though I was in elementary school.