Thoughts On Reading

I cannot remember how I learned to read a book. I remember reading “Amelia Bedelia”, and books about dog breeds, and sometimes cats. I remember going to the library during elementary school and having to take out a book and sometimes going and taking out mats and sitting on them while the librarian read my class a story. Though even with all this thinking I can never remember how or what I first read. When I was younger, I liked looking at the pictures more than reading the book. And even during designated reading time I would watch the clock tick by because I hated reading. I am still not a fan of reading because to me it feels like a waste of time. I would rather sit and watch a movie, or go outside and do something fun. In 5th grade they gave the option to learn how to play the violin. There was no designated time so it was during reading time. I think that is why I started playing the violin. I played the violin all through high school, but stopped after I graduated. It was fun at first, but I liked playing in the concerts more than class rehearsal, especially after my first teacher past away. I started playing the violin because it got me out of having to sit quiet for 45 minutes or so and just read. Reading started out boring for me, but as time went on, I developed different reasons to hate reading.

When I think of reading I think of high school, because that happened most recently. I hated all 4 years of English class. And my teachers were awful. Majority of the teachers in my high school were more interested in being in a competition of who can be the most difficult teacher. One day my teacher had come back from maternity leave and we were getting our tests back we had taken with the substitute. The first thing she said was, “these grades are too high.” The entire class was not surprised because all of our grades we received while the teacher was gone were the highest we received. Some of the teachers were nicer outside of class during after school hours than in class, but other than that there were not many positive vibes.

My freshman year I can remember a little more clearly. I went to a separate tutor once a week to work on vocab. I could never memorize the words, like we were supposed to. Nor did I want to, which caused my original procrastination to become even more difficult to overcome. The worst of freshman year was when we had to read Romeo and Juliet. I hated that play, mostly because when we had to analyze I never could and I never understood what Shakespeare was saying. Not knowing the technique Shakespeare used is what turned me off, not knowing what he was saying. I realize that most people have that difficulty these days because it is not an everyday language anymore. Though because I was not good at it, I did not try to improve my skills because I would get frustrated with it and was not able to see the point of the analysis.

Sophomore year was one of the worst years. I was never good at grammar, and one day the whole class knew that. I remember it clearly. We had a quiz on grammar, though all I remember it being about was parts of sentences and parts of speech. But I remember I got a 60 on the quiz and she said if we got below a 70 we had to retake it. So we graded them right after like we usually do and I got a 60. I did and did not expect the next event to occur that happened. She called in front of the class the kids who failed the quiz and had to retake it. I am already in a vulnerable position. It has only been a year since I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I also had just been retested for a 501 plan, to have a teacher follow me around for extra support, which made me feel dumb. Thankfully I didn’t need to do that, but I had to see the school psychologist once a week. Also, if a class was too much, I could leave and go see the psychologist.

But back to the story. After she called us all up she brought us over to her desk to determine when we were available to retake the quiz. Now I am trying not to ball my eyes out in front of the whole class because there is about 30 kids in my class. Then once I went back and forth with her, I went back to my desk, buried my head, and started balling because I couldn’t hold it back anymore. The bell was about to ring so I waited and then went straight to the bathroom, then to the psychologist. Both psychologists were outraged at the teacher and how she handled the situation. When I told my mom she emailed my principal and the teacher. The teacher said it was not her intension, but I believe she knew exactly what she was doing. Thankfully the school year was almost over so I didn’t have to deal with her anymore. The most ironic part about that class was it was the first time I had received above an 80 in an English class ever.

Junior year was a little better, but not much. I remember having to read Macbeth which was horrible. My teacher was mean and not willing to help. She would not try to help and explain. This made me feel stupid because she would blatantly tell students they were wrong and not explain why, just move on. The teacher would sometimes roll her eyes at me when I asked her a question after school. I did not want to be alone with her because I was afraid of what I might do. One day I was close to reaching a breaking point, and just as I feared, I exploded on her. I was practically yelling at her, but in a low voice, and told her how bad of a teacher she was and that everyone hated her and was afraid of her. Though after all of that she still had me calm down, and once I was settled she helped me with the vocabulary I came to get help with. The point of these stories is, I hate reading and English classes because it makes me feel stupid. I never do the work because it is boring, I would rather be doing something else, and it even sometimes outs me to sleep. I procrastinate, and get aggravated easily because I do not have the creative mind to analyze texts.

I remember the first book I read from cover to cover was in middle school. It was about a dog, but I do not remember what the title was. The next book I read from beginning to end was also in middle school, in seventh grade, Maximum Ride by James Patterson. The only other book I have read in my free time was the book Divergent, freshman year for summer reading, and Is the last book I have read from beginning to end. I think I read those books because I had interest in them and no one was pressuring me to read them or to have to analyze every word and question ever sentence. I believe that when an author writes a book they do not expect a normal, typical person to take apart every sentence or word they write. They just wanted to tell a story and share it. When someone tells you about their day do you write it down and then take apart every sentence trying to figure out if there is a puzzle, no. You just listen from their voice. It is the same thing when it comes to reading, if the story is not interesting some people will either change the subject because they do not want to listen, or they will sit there and listen because they are interested, but just because one person is interested in the story, does not mean every person is interested.

It amazes me of how much reading students are forced to do in English class. It is the same thing every single year, and yet you are still made to take the class for almost two decades. But every year it is the same thing, you are forced to read a book whether you like it or not and have to pick apart every word the author says. What is the point of that? Why pick apart a story? Just listen and move on. Sure you ask questions if you don’t understand and then go back into the story to see if you can figure it out, but if you go too deep into a story you start to make things up that the author didn’t include because he or she didn’t want to include it, or it has nothing to do with the story whatsoever. If you go too deep, you lose sight of the big picture.

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