Wednesday, October 11th, 2017...10:05 pmWHJF207

A Cheesy Account of Learning to Read

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My experience learning to read was one of relative normalcy, I suppose. I never went to preschool, but I did go to daycare before kindergarten. Though not as rigorously academically oriented like a preschool, my daycare had story time, in which the teacher read picture books aloud to a large group of us. During coloring time and arts and crafts, the teacher would ask us to write our names and simple words such as “dog” or “cat.” My parents loved to read picture books to me, and eventually my brother, at night. They would occasionally work on word pronunciation with us then. This was the extent of my exposure to reading before kindergarten.

When kindergarten began was when I remember my world expanding. I loved school, and was always bursting with excitement to go. Perhaps the most important activity my teacher had us do was the “reading bag.” To me, this reading bag was the most luxurious, most expensive, most exciting bag I had ever owned, and contained the most precious items I had ever been given. It was really just a gallon plastic bag with my name on an index card taped to the outside of the bag. But it contained a reading log in which I was able to keep track of my nightly reading. Each night, I was sent home with a new book that I was expected to read with a parent. Whomever read with me that night wrote notes in my log about my progress and signed their name to verify. With each book level mastered, I became more and more confident in my abilities as a reader. There was nothing more satisfying than moving from level 4 to level 5 to level 6, and so on.

By third grade, I was reading small chapter books. I spent my Saturdays curled up reading whole “Magic Treehouse” books in one sitting. They offered a space for me to escape for a few hours, and it made me happy to see the stack of “need-to-read” books dwindle and move into the “finished” pile. My habit grew and soon I was trying to stay up past my bedtime to read just one more chapter of my book. And the rest, as they say, is history.

When I asked my parents about my journey through reading, I laughed. I remembered more than they did about how I learned to read! I suppose that is a testament to how personal the journey is, and I have enjoyed every moment of mine.


  • Your post reminded of me of reading logs! I can definitely relate to being competitive about reading and the excitement of moving up levels, and how incredible Magic Treehouse were.

  •   Professor Seiler
    October 14th, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Rachel–I’m with Lily in having a similar memory of a reading log (but at my local public library). The reading bag is a genius idea! Were your parents’ memories of Young Rachel Reader prompted at all by yours?

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