Before Dick and Jane

"Fun with Dick and Jane"

Dick and Jane.

I remember using this series of books in elementary school. I breezed through them, finding them fun but a bit boring and silly. I had already learned to read before attending school, thanks to my Mom, who felt it was important to provide good books for me to look at and learn from, from a very early age.  She subscribed to the Dr. Seuss books for me, and each month we'd received a 'large' thin box in the mail, and I would know another book had come for me!

I cannot remember which one I got first.  It might have been CAT IN THE HAT, or GREEN EGGS AND HAM.  At any rate, I remember my favorite - HORTON HATCHES AN EGG.  I always loved Horton, and felt he did a very honorable thing.  I did not like the jealous mother bird at all, feeling she wanted to take all the credit for doing none of the work!  Even then, I really got caught up in my stories.  I literally learned to read from being read to, and looking at the words as much as the pictures.  I knew that words have power, that stories transport, and I wanted to know the secret.  I wanted to know how to read! I cannot remember the details, but I remember being told what a word meant, the sounds of words, and between those hints, my own deductions based on observation and context, I began to understand the mystery of the written word.

Before any of that, however, there was my father.  He told great stories to me at bedtime, stories that he would make up as he went along.  I never knew what the stories were going to be about, and that made it all the better.  I was very young at the time, so I can't remember any of them.  But that's not the important thing anyways.  They made a lasting impression of me of how powerful words are, and when they are used skillfully and tell incredible stories, the stories take you with them.  I was hooked!

Thus, when I started school, I had a head start.  I absorbed it all as fast as I could because I couldn't wait to read more.  And more.  And MORE!