Reading remains part of curriculum

Published 7:17 am Friday, April 24, 2009

In the days of the smaller schools, reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic were the basics of the curriculum.

Nowadays, science, social studies and a variety of other subjects have been added to the students’ studies.

Writing has gone by the wayside, and good penmanship is a lost art, not only in students but adults as well.

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Spelling has also been lost in this electronic age, and the old-fashioned way of figuring has given way to calculators.

However, in this modern age, I am delighted to observe that educators are doing everything possible to encourage students from pre-kindergarten upwards to read or have someone to read to them.

I am an admitted “bookaholic,” and my love affair with books dates back to my early childhood, when books and magazines were staple items in our home.

When I was 8 or 10 years old, I could always expect to find several books under the Christmas tree. These included “Little Women,” “Black Beauty,” “Heidi,” “Lad of Sunnybank” and other classics of the 1930s.

During my early teens I was thrilled when the Decatur County “powers-that-be” established a traveling library for book-loving patrons out in the county. Mrs. Freddie Campbell hauled fruit cartons of books in the back seat of her car. I always checked out 10 or 12 books at a time since she only came by my house every two or three weeks. Mrs. Campbell told people that I read more than all her other patrons, and she was probably right.

In high school I especially enjoyed the literature classes under Miss Becky Turner. Miss Turner frequently required us to memorize quotations from Shakespeare and other famous authors. This has served me well recently to pass the long hours in the hospital by trying to remember as many of the quotes as possible from the old days.

In the past I have joined several book clubs, and I try not to miss book sales by various organizations. One of my favorite things is “hanging out” at Jim Smith’s Book Nook. My passion for books is such that friends shopping with me at the mall will grab my arm and rush me past if I so much as glance at a book store.

Presently my special favorite books are “whodunits,” or murder mysteries, especially those whose plot includes a good deal of investigative police work. This interest is triggered from my years of covering the police beat for The Post-Searchlight and my personal friendship with many of the local law enforcement officers, for whom I have the greatest respect.

However, I am still an avid reader of romantic and historical fiction—in fact, anything with the printed word, including the ingredients on a ketchup bottle on the restaurant table.