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Tony Grist

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Reading And Writing [Oct. 29th, 2013|09:28 am]
Tony Grist
Our niece was here. She's a primary school teacher in the West Country. We were talking about teaching children to read and write.

Can you remember a time before you could read and write?  I can't. I don't remember learning either. My earliest certain memory of the schoolroom has me already well grounded in literacy, sitting at my desk, transcribing a rather dull story about a miller and some elves into an exercise book. I believe I was ahead of the class- and had been shunted into a siding to perform this meaningless task while Miss Couch concentrated her attention on the less able.

I left that school before I finished the job and never found out how the story ended. 
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Comments:
From: cmcmck
2013-10-29 12:12 pm (UTC)
I started reading early then I went to school and they made me read Janet and John.

Bor-ring!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-29 01:26 pm (UTC)
I don't think I ever had to deal with them.
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From: cmcmck
2013-10-29 06:04 pm (UTC)
Mum, dad, boy, girl, dog, middle class urban and patriarchal...............

Oh, and with regard to writing, they tried to force me to be right handed. They failed. :o)



Edited at 2013-10-29 06:05 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-29 06:12 pm (UTC)
Makes the Miller and the Elves sound wildly stimulating...
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2013-10-29 01:44 pm (UTC)
Jack and Janet and Tip and Mitten. I still remember them. I really don't remember a time I couldn't read and write, nor do I remember learning. I remember being read TO - but we had family story hour off and on for a LONG time.

I remember learning to write cursive. That I remember.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-29 05:42 pm (UTC)
I believe my mother read me Winnie-the-Pooh. I'm not sure what else.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2013-10-29 05:44 pm (UTC)
Pinocchio. I remember that. She did always encourage me to read, though, and still does.

I remember "I, said the sparrow, with my little bow and arrow..." and I also remember her reading Chicken Little.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-29 05:48 pm (UTC)
There was a book of nursery rhymes. I found Who Killed Cock Robin? mysterious and disturbing.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2013-10-29 06:30 pm (UTC)
I still do. I wonder why it's considered a nursery rhyme? I'm sure any child would find it mysterious and disturbing. They probably don't allow it to be read to children any more....
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-29 09:49 pm (UTC)
A lot of the best nursery rhymes have that quality. It's what makes them endure. They're like remembered fragments from an otherwise forgotten dream.

Edited at 2013-10-29 09:51 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2013-10-29 01:52 pm (UTC)
I remember being fairly slow, and trying to get to the end of Tip and Mitten (the tedious story of a bourgeois puppy and a kitten) over and over again for days at a time. This would be at age 5. I also remember lessons in which we learned the alphabet from letters: 'I' was for 'Indian', I recall. I was jealous of Neil Radley, who could read better than me. But in my next relevant memory, I can read better than anyone else in the class. There are probably six months between those memories. What happened to effect the change? I've no idea. Alien probes, probably.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2013-10-29 05:03 pm (UTC)
I can remember learning to read and not finding it easy, struggling my way through Janet and John before graduation to Dick and Dora. Looking back, I was possibly at least slightly dyslexic, but like you, something apparently miraculous happened and once I got the hang of it, I was one of the best and keenest readers in the class.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-29 05:45 pm (UTC)
Tip and Mitten was before my time. I don't remember having to deal with any of those primers. The Miller and the Elves- which is where my memory clicks in- was already a fairly advanced piece of writing, with several paragraphs to the page.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2013-10-29 05:47 pm (UTC)
Ype, I remember Tip and Mitten. All the readers had stories of 'the family', and the family had one dad, one mom, one boy child, one or two girl children and a dog and a cat. Everyone lived in a house. Everyone went to school. It seemed like they all lived in small towns....

Edited at 2013-10-29 06:30 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2013-10-29 07:31 pm (UTC)
I can remember being able to write 3 words: 'cat', 'owl' and 'Alice'. I can't remember going from not being able to read to being able, but I do remember suddenly noticing that Rupert Bear stories had a chunk of text telling a longer version of the rhyming couplet above it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-29 10:00 pm (UTC)
I have a book I wrote in the earliest days of literacy. It has pictures and text- both very straggly. The first page reads, "Mouse goes for a walk". Later it gets more exciting. "Mouse sees a pirate" and "Baa-lamb sees a dragon".
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2013-10-29 10:19 pm (UTC)
My mum could probably provide me with similar examples! Rupert must have been a big early influence because I wrote a lot of really terrible rhyming couplets (in fact for years I thought 'annual' meant 'book with stories told in pictures and verse').
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From: artkouros
2013-10-30 02:25 am (UTC)
I remember being in my dad's car and writing out my name for the first time. My parents got me (or probably, my older sisters) a set of Year Book Encyclopedias. I would sit on the couch and flip through them cover to cover. I don't remember learning to read either, but I could do it before I got to school.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-10-30 08:40 am (UTC)
It's amazing how receptive children are. Learning to read and write from scratch is an enormous task for an adult, but children seem to manage it effortlessly.
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From: artkouros
2013-10-30 11:36 am (UTC)
They just don't know any better.
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