Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Textual Lineage

I get to spend this week in a home grown reading institute put on by Teachers College. It's an amazing opportunity that these brilliant staff developers join us and share their ideas and talent with us.

Yesterday we discussed our own reading lives. One of the activities we completed was to create a textual lineage for ourselves. I created mine in the form of a timeline. 

Creating a timeline of myself as a reader was fun. Here's the rundown of my textual lineage. It all began with weekly trips to the library with my Mom. We'd gather piles of books to read throughout the week. I can still remember the excitement I felt when it was time to go to the library. It felt like coming home. 

There were some negative experiences in my lineage as a reader... like the time Sr. Helen forced me to read "Misty of Chincoteague" and write a book report on it. UGH! To this day, I refuse to read that book. It made quite an impression on me. 

The moment that I treasure on this timeline is the moment from 1989 when I was a freshman in college. I was reading "A Handmaid's Tale". It was Monday morning and I was on my way to class, but this book... this book! I couldn't stop reading it, so I sat down on a bench and finished the whole thing. It was the first time I'd skipped class. I was there. I was IN that world. It's a moment that I remember almost thirty years later. 

Thinking back and reflecting on myself as a reader was enjoyable and reminded me of some of my favorite moments in my life.These stories, these books had a hand in making me the woman I am today. Revisiting books I've read is like reconnecting with old friends. If you've never done this, try it. What is your textual lineage? 

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  1. What a fun activity! I'm going to try this. I also remember going to the library. The first book I checked out and read on my own was Thumbellina. Funny how we still remember those things from so long ago! (Writing Down the Bones was also a favorite of mine!)

  2. Your post today allowed me to take a glimpse into your reading world and reminisce through mine, which isn't as pretty as I'd like it to be. That's okay though, I'm in a good place today. Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

  3. A textual lineage, what a great idea! I don't remember the first book I checked out of the library, but I do remember deciding to read every book in the children's library, starting with the A's (authors' names beginning with...). Of course, I never managed to finish that project, mostly because there were some boring books by the time I got to the K's, I think, and I decided to go back to my random picks. I'm going to try this for myself. Thanks!

  4. I'm not sure I could do this exercise. I've lived longer than you and my memories are sketchy at best, but I do know I grew up with parents who read (and still do) all the time. Your experience with Misty of Chincoteague just shows how important choice is in the process of creating a lifelong reader. I don't think I fell in love with reading until my Children's Lit class in undergraduate school. We had to read all the Caldecotts and Newberys.

  5. I'm so sad, Michelle, because Misty was one of my most favorite books! I remember plowing through the Encyclopedia Brown series. He couldn't write those fast enough! Just recently I read The Poet's Dog cover to cover in bed one night. Couldn't put it down and was sobbing by the end of it. Thanks for sharing this experience and triggering some great textual memories! -- Christie @

  6. I was told that our posts connect today. I haven't created a textual lineage (will try now!) but I did write about my early literacy experiences and experiencing "rapture" in reading a good book, and how kids sometimes grow up without ever experiencing that (all Mistys for them, alas-!). So enjoyed this.


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