Thursday, July 15, 2010

People May Not Read Anymore But Kids Should

Mrs. Bratt must have been a tough name for a teacher, let alone a first grade teacher. Floy Bratt was tough. North Fremont County, Idaho didn’t have a kindergarten in 1954 so she inherited 28 first grade students at all levels of reading ability. All but one or two were from surrounding ranches and farms and two city kids from either Ashton (population give or take 1,000) or Marysville.00235_p_10aeuyf6sw0366_r

A memorable crack on the knuckles for talking when I shouldn’t have been is still a reminder that she was a disciplinarian. That’s me, second from left on top row in image to the right (click to enlarge.)

I don’t recall if my parents taught me to read before entering first grade. I believe they must have, because I remember at 5 years old not being permitted to come out of my room during the visit of a friend and his Mom one day, until I had fulfilled a goal/commitment of printing my first name.

I also recall that while there are a lot of things to learn on a ranch at that age, my parents were always focused on academics as well. I went on my first round-up at 5 and that may have been the carrot related to learning to print my name by that age.img069

I do recall with pride, earning the Certificate of Award for Home Reading, shown left and signed by Mrs. Bratt herself. Memory of those books has faded.

But the family photo below documents that it took me no time at all to form my own classroom for my two younger sisters who obviously are riveted in the photo below by a reading of just released Donald Duck in Disneyland.00122_p_10aeuyf6sw0254

You can tell by my youngest sister’s expression, it was a nail-biter, and the look on my next youngest sister’s face reminds me I was never as riveting as I remember.

Here’s to all the Mrs. Bratt’s out there and may they be as dedicated to reading and one day paid every penny they are worth. People as the saying goes may not read anymore, but there is no more important skill for those who do.

And to Mrs. Bratt, you’ll never be forgotten!

No comments: