Thursday, January 22, 2009
I remember Mrs. Wiginton’s first grade class well.
I loved learning to read, particularly those Dick and Jane books.
“See Spot run.”
“Run, Spot, run.”
I can’t recall a love for writing then. That came later.
Thursday, my first grader, Erin, was waiting for me to get home from work. She had something to show me.
She had written a story. She finished the rest of classwork early that day, and Mrs. Tice let her cut out a picture and write about it.
Erin knows her daddy is a newspaper writer. Before I even read her story, Pam, Emma and Andy were calling her a “chip off the old block.”
And they emphasized “old.”
The story - as the picture showed - was titled “The Little Boy and the Kitten” - By Erin Burleson.
“There was a little boy named John. He had a pet kitty. Its name was Molly. She is brown, gray and white. John loves Molly. He likes to play with her. He likes to feed her. He takes care of her. He watches over her. John loves Molly a lot.” The End.
I was a bit stunned and very impressed. There’s nothing wrong with being a proud father, and that certainly made me proud.
“Daddy, I even capitalized the right words,” Erin said with a big smile.
Saturday, she’d had a busy day - playing basketball, a late 7th birthday party with members of my family from Alabama and then going to her brother’s basketball game that afternoon. She was tired later that night after a bath and settling in the bed to read.
She fell asleep quickly, and come to find out she lacked only a few pages of an 88-page book.
“I finished it in three days,” she told me Sunday afternoon.
The title was Gooney Bird Greene - written by Lois Lowry.
Even though I loved reading in the first grade, I’m pretty sure I didn’t read any 88-page books. Those “Dick and Jane” books were not nearly that long.
I know a few years later I thoroughly enjoyed The Hardy Boys. I read one after the other and wanted more.
Also Saturday, Emma was talking about upcoming yearbook deadlines. She’s the editor. And Andy was writing a sports story for the school newspaper about the success of the junior high basketball team.
But they don’t even want to think they might be “chips off the old block,” too. They’re teenagers.
It seems reading and writing have kind of fallen by the wayside with modern technology. But I’m a firm believer in the basics - reading, writing and arithmetic.
Majoring in journalism and minoring in English, the bulk of my college career was spent reading and writing.
I was one of the crazy ones, I guess, at least most of my friends thought so, because I actually enjoyed research papers. Spending time in the library with books was just fine with me.
But that’s changed a lot, too. Today, via Google or another search engine, students can just type in the name of what the topic of their paper is and poof - their information is at their fingertips.
Don’t get me wrong. Google comes in handy when publishing a newspaper every week, too. But I still have my dictionary right by my computer. I will always prefer Webster’s, in paperback.
My love for writing didn’t really flourish until high school - really taking off when I became sports editor and later editor of my high school newspaper.
That’s when I decided to make it a profession.
I’ve witnessed technology changes in the newspaper business. I’ve gone from spending all night “pasting up” a newspaper by hand to simply “Fetching” the pages to the printer.
I prefer these methods of producing the newspaper best.
But never will Spell Check replace proofreading.
I’m from the old school.
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