The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
This book is where it all began. As I was sitting on the colorful reading carpet, criss-cross applesauce, with about twenty of my peers, I looked up at my teacher, Mrs. Thrall, as she held a fascinating book in her hands. I stared at it intently and tried my very best to pronounce the crazy title on the front. Everyday after lunch, my third grade teacher would read a few chapters from a children’s novel to the class and we would listen closely as our imaginations ran wild and free. “Class,” she said with a cheerful tone of voice, “today we are starting a new chapter book called, “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.” The entire class burst into laughter! What a silly title for a book? My curiosity began to take over and I needed to know what this book was all about. After giving the class a brief summary of what she was about to read, Mrs. Thrall dove into chapter one and I fell completely in love. I am not sure if it was the continuous adventure in the story that kept me on my toes, or if it were the vivid pictures the story painted in my head as she continued to read. Either way, my imagination ran wild and I could hardly wait for the story to continue! This was a defining moment in elementary school that I will never forget. As I reflect over the years I’ve spent in school and how literacy has affected me academically, this chapter book that was read to me by my amazing third grade teacher planted a desire in me that could not be quenched. My anticipation continued to grow as we read everyday but was eventually satisfied when she read the very last page. Or so I thought. I loved the way this book made me feel. It was the first time I had ever experienced literature that kept my full attention from top to bottom on every page. Not only did this book inspire to read more and more, it taught me to challenge myself to read books that were more challenging than the reading level I was placed on. Up until this point, I was terrified to pick up a chapter book, but as Mrs. Thrall read, “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles,” my nerves began to ease a little more each day. She taught all of her students to believe in themselves and she challenged us to work to the best of our ability on a daily basis in and out of the classroom. Before I knew it, my knowledge and literacy began to develop rapidly, and I was reading Harry Potter books the very next summer. I was so amazed by the fact that the more I read, the more I craved it, and once I thought my craving was satisfied at the end of the book, I wanted more. I am so grateful Mrs. Thrall had us keep a reading log of all the chapter books we read for the rest of the year. As I counted all of books I read in the third grade, I reached a grand total of seventy-two books. That is something I still brag about to this day. As a student, my confidence continued to flourish as my reading and writing skills matured. My development throughout elementary school and on to intermediate, middle, and high school, is proof of the positive effects that literacy has on a child. A children’s novel that was written to entertain the minds of the reader, inspired this child to soak up all of the literature that was poured into her and to be open-minded to the opportunities that reading can create. Over the years, the time I have invested in reading and writing has expanded my love and appreciation for literature in many ways. Our life is defined by moments, and I would have to say that as an eight-year old listening to my teacher during story time, “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” left such an impact on my life that I have never looked at reading the same since.