By Gisela Carlander
A friend recently gave me a first grade reader she picked up at a garage sale. It had come full circle! The identification inside the front cover was from a first grade classroom in the district where I now teach. Upon opening it, I was immediately transported back in time, back to a different me. My inner child was awakened and I didn’t even know she was still in there. I felt the joy I knew as a child when I realized I was able to put those simple words together and make the story come alive. I visualized the world those words created and felt like I was in that world again. It was a very perfect world. Everybody’s clothes were pressed and clean, everyone wore a smile, the sky was always sunny, and people made mistakes but nobody was bad. I felt the innocence and exuberance of childhood, full of expectations and excitement about getting to know the world. But best of all, this little book showed me how great it felt to be able to read all by myself. More than the simple stories I worked my way through with books like these, these books showed me that there was a whole world out there I could find out about all by myself. What a wonderful feeling that was – the simple action of opening this book and seeing those pages and words again, brought the clarity of that awakening back to me like a heartbeat that I had stopped noticing. What a blessing reading is!