To the Teacher Who Inspired Our Love of Reading, Thank You

Our love of reading had to start somewhere. We’re sending out some gratitude to these special teachers for encouraging us to read.

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We at Bookstr not only write and create graphics dedicated to all things books, but we live for books. We love giving our opinions on things we’ve read, sharing breaking bookish news, and geeking over the latest publication announcement. For some of us, we can’t remember when our love of books started, but for others, there were influential people who helped start us on our bookish journies. On this National Teachers Day, we’d like to take a minute to say thanks to those special educators who influenced our love of reading.

Mrs. Pace/Gump – 1st Grade Teacher (Book: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs)

I cannot remember the specific book that I first picked up that really made me a reader, but the encouragement of Mrs. Pace to read stayed with me the most. I would complete assignments quickly and then have nothing to do, becoming a distraction to other students. Rather than disciplining me, she told me to pick a book and read it when I was done, which is still something I do today. Between “activities” or busy times, I read. One of my favorite stories from this age is The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. It sits on my bookshelf, and I read it to my kids. Thank you, Ms. Gump, for your inspirational guidance, without which I might not be the bibliophile I am today.

—Kristi Eskew, Editorial

Mrs. Pagel – 2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher (Book: The Saddle Club Series)

She always had a bookshelf in her classroom. She would let students borrow books whenever they wanted. The 2 book series I was reading at the time were The Saddle Club series by Bonnie Bryant and The Thoroughbred series created by Joanna Campbell (and written by various authors, including Joanna). I still haven’t read all the books in each of the series—there are over 50 books in each series, not including the spinoff book series. I would always finish my homework early, so I would need something to do. That’s when I started reading.  

—Christina Hardesty, Graphics

Ms. Huddle – Elementary School Librarian (Book: The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Mayer)

I met Ms. Huddle when I was selected for an advanced reading group in kindergarten. The other students in the group and I met in the library weekly with Ms. Huddle, and she helped us choose books that we would enjoy and would challenge us. While I don’t remember all the specific books I read in that group, Ms. Huddle gave me an excuse to delve into new worlds from the comfort of a cushioned wooden chair. One of my favorite books at the time was The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Mayer. I discovered my inner voice in that group, which sparked a love of reading that continues to this day. I was able to talk to her about a year ago and told her how that experience set me on a lifelong literary trajectory. I’m very grateful to her for seeing something in me that I had yet to see in myself. 

—Cara Hadden, Editorial

Mrs. Hennefer – 2nd Grade Teacher (Books: Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne)

I wasn’t into reading as much until my second-grade teacher made “Circle Time Reading” a routine for the class every day. We would all sit down on a circle rug, the teacher would sit in a wooden rocking chair, and then she would pick up a book and read it aloud to us. She read a couple of books, but none stuck out to me until she picked up Dinosaurs Before Dark. That was when I stopped chatting with my friends and instead paid attention to what she was saying. It was something that I felt like I never heard before, a whole imagination of something that could never happen: time travel to the dinosaur age. I was fine with her reading it for a couple of days until I realized how little time we had with how slowly she read the book. I figured out that it was to have everyone follow along more easily, but I didn’t like the speed myself. Pretty soon, I checked out The Knight at Dawn from the school library to read it on my own, and I finished it in less than a day. From then on, I became one of the highest point earners in my class on Accelerated Reading (AR). 

—Jaiden Cruz, Graphics

Ms. Imamoto – 2nd Grade Teacher (Book: The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary)

Perhaps my fondest memories go back to my year in Ms. Imamoto’s second-grade classroom. At the time, I was still lacking confidence in my understanding of English as it was my second language. However, Ms. Imamoto’s classroom environment helped foster a desire to read and enjoy every moment. I would say this was true for my peers as well. In addition to the available selection of books in her class, the teacher also personally gifted each student their very own book, mine of which was Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Over the course of the next several years, I read and reread that novel beyond any amount of times that I can recall. I consider it a major step in the development of my affinity for reading as well as a firmer grasp of the English language. I credit my time in Ms. Imamoto’s class with some of my best memories of school and of discovering books. 

—Edward Berdnik, Editorial

Ms. Croce – 3rd Grade Teacher (Book: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer). 

My reading obsession began long before 3rd grade, but this year stuck out to me as the first time a teacher really encouraged freedom in my book choices and selection. For some reason, 3rd grade was the year I started reading way above my grade level. I ended up trading Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Why? I’m not quite sure. This was 2010, so the Twilight Saga pop culture explosion was in full force. Though Ms.Croce could have reprimanded me for reading vampire romance novels at the ripe age of 9 in her classroom, she didn’t. She let me have free reign to read whatever I wanted (with my parent’s approval, of course). Luckily, my family also supported my passionate leap into young adult reading material, so I was emboldened to let my bookish self flourish and explore. Thus, one of my fondest childhood memories, oddly enough, is intently reading Twilight during silent reading time. Now that I think of it, my affinity for long-haul fantasy book series carried over into my teens when I discovered A Song of Ice and Fire. Anyways, long story short, thank you, Ms. Croce, for not limiting my reading horizons and letting me bring books from home. You’re the best. 

—Erin Shea, Editorial

Mrs. MacAuthur – 3rd Grade Teacher (Book: Boxcar Children)

Mrs. MacAuthur and I had a rocky start. I was a sensitive kid at the time (and as an adult now, teehee), but she was the one who opened my world to reading and storytelling. She was the first teacher to read chapter books out loud. The first book was Boxcar Children. She proceeded to read more books such as—Sideways Story From Wayside School, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I absolutely loved reading time and always made sure to pay attention. She was also the first teacher to introduce writing stories. And I wrote about a Halloween spooky story. So thank you, Mrs. MacAuthur, for showing me what reading could do to a young mind. 

—Sierra Jackson, Editorial

Mrs. Schwartz – 4th Grade Teacher (Book: The Harry Potter Series)

I was always a big reader, even as a little kid, but no teacher really took the time to foster my love of reading until Mrs. Schwartz. At a parent-teacher conference, Mrs. Schwartz told my mother that I should read the Harry Potter series, insisting I would love it. I remember being resistant at first, not sure why, but the second I got my hands on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was hooked. Between 4th and 6th grade, I devoured the entire series, which made me fall in love with reading. Now, I’m following my own dreams of becoming an author. Thank you Mrs. Schwartz, for making my mom make me read Harry Potter.

—Valarie D’Amico, Editorial

Ms. Lyons – 8th grade (Book: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte) 

I have always loved to read, so when I bonded with my eighth-grade English teacher, I wasn’t surprised. There was just this connection and appreciation we shared for each other. She always gave me compliments on my writing and pushed me to do better. It was a beautiful relationship. She was only at my school for one year, and she still made a huge impact on my life that words cannot describe. When she was leaving at the end of the year, she gave me her personal copy of Wuthering Heights; it has since become my pride possession. Even at 13, I was invested in this kind of literature. This novel sparked my interest immensely as it truly pushed me to major in college and take classes in 18th-century British literature. This book may have also been the cause of my deep love of tortured romance novels. Her guidance and kindness continue to influence my life even after 10 years. 

—Olivia Salamone, Editorial

Mrs. Reynon – 3rd grade (Book: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White) 

At 8 years old, I was probably just beginning to expand my reading comprehension levels. Charlotte’s Web was the earliest of these early childhood books I can remember absolutely wrecking me. It was probably the first book that ever made me cry! I read this book during 3rd grade English class, guided by Mrs. Reynon, who was instrumental in our understanding of the story and its themes. She was the first teacher I ever had that introduced Popcorn Reading during class, meaning that I really had to keep up and pay attention in case I was called to read aloud. I always remember her class was engaging and valuable to my reading journey. 

—Griffyn Tijamo, Graphics 

Do you remember the teacher that got you into reading? Let us know about it!

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