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Oct 30

Reading in a Circle by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted on October 30, 2020 at 4:08 PM by Genesis Gaule

I’ve taught at the middle school and high school levels. There were many things for me to learn while I taught that I have taken into the Library world. One of my favorites is learning how to read in a circle.  


During a parent-teacher conference, a mother shared how her daughter had learned to read in a circle. I was far too curious to let that comment go without investigation. “How did she do that?” I asked.


“When my daughter realized she could read a few words, she didn’t want to put a book down.  She started by sitting on the couch with a book in hand.  Soon one leg and then the other was over the arm of the couch. As she read, she lay down full length on the couch. Her legs would make their way to the back of the couch and her head would hang down off the seat cushion. Yes, upside down. As the words rolled on, the legs would come down to the seat and her head was on the arm and round and round she’d go. She’d work very hard to read each new word. The book was never far from her eyes.”  


I loved hearing the story as much as she enjoyed sharing it.  


Do you remember learning to read? For many it is exciting to realize those marks on a page add up to words, thoughts and stories. For many, it was a struggle and never got any easier.  Then there is everyone in between.  


When I taught high school, a young man struggled as a Junior to read. He was certain that he didn’t need to read to be a mechanic. We ordered mechanics magazines for him and he read part of them every week for his assignments. He wrote paragraphs to explain what he’d read.  He found the value in reading. This young man will probably never read a novel, but I wouldn’t hesitate to take my car to him.       


In the home where I grew up, we had magazines and newspapers, no children’s books. There were cereal boxes, recipes and game instructions. I used them all to start reading before kindergarten. I’d read the city and directional signs when our family took road trips.    


I remember the day that I cleaned the dust from our tractor and rewrote the words I found there--John Deere. Words were everywhere! I still want to put that e on the end of deer even if I’m referring to one with four legs.  


I don’t remember ever reading in a circle and no matter how many car magazines I read, I’ll never be able to fix my car. What I do know is that words are everywhere and being able to read them is a real advantage!


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