Tag Archives: Reading

The End.

16 Mar

I don’t recall reading those words very often because – well, I can’t usually finish an entire book. It’s true, I have this habit of picking up a good read at the local book store, only to get half-way through it and park it on the shelf. Some amazing (dusty) titles sit on my bookshelf this very minute with cute polka-dot bookmarks inside them: EAT, PRAY, LOVE and Letters from My Father are the latest victims.

The truth is that I have a very weak comprehension level. I literally survived off of Cliff Notes through school and am now faced with the reality that reading is something that needs to be apart of me. I dream of becoming a 1st grade teacher and although I can dissect a children’s story in a million different ways, I have and want to be able to really understand the realm of reading.

Besides the fact that I need to succeed in reading for the sake of my career and dreams, I envy those that can get lost inside a book. My friends have cried and laughed, all from some 400 pages that seems to have moved them and touched them in a way that no Kardashian episode, no Oprah interview ever could.

I recently took a comprehension placement test, which is actually a requirement to get into the certification program I’m looking at. There I was, entering a high school again, sitting in this tiny desk with 29 other people around me; a whiteboard to the front and a clock to the back, I felt as though I was 16 again taking a test on J. D. Salinger’s – Catcher in the Rye (No, I never read it. Sorry Ms. Mina). Hours went by and I left that day feeling like I would never be able to overcome my inability to read and retain.

I sat in my car for a good 30 minutes, crying over the realization that in a month I’d find out that I had failed and I would have to pay more money and take the test again. This is especially discouraging to me because 99% of the people who I know that have taken this test in the past “passed with flying colors!”

The following week I turned to the only two people that seem to always have the answers in life, my good friends Kourtney and Kacey. I told them about what happened and asked them what I should do. After listening to their kind words and reassurance that I’m not a complete idiot, I asked Kacey what her favorite novels were and without hesitation she rattled off, “Nicholas Sparks! He writes the best stories and even better, they turn into movies.” Hmm, Nicholas Sparks. I guess I could give it a try, but would I sit there and vision Miley Cyrus for 400 pages?

A few days later I called up my friend and together we went shopping at the local bookstore. After searching the entire place, we found the infamous Sparks novels. I picked up various titles and found one that was used. Granted it had someones french toast fingers all over it, I read enough of the preface to know I wanted more. $6.99 later, I was home in bed with Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.

Much like your first bite of cheesecake, or your first roller coaster ride, this feeling came over me as I turned the pages that I have never felt before. His words, his writing, his ability to paint the most vivid picture of a frail woman who had just escaped her husband to live in North Carolina; I was hooked. It took me about a week and a half to get through it. I blame finals week and quality time with my boyfriend for that, but what really matters to me is that I FINISHED! Okay, so I know most novels don’t actually say, “The End,” but believe me, it’s there and I got to it.

Tears, laughter, anxiousness; how could this book have brought all of that out in me? In the back of his book, I found about 20 questions that you could answer within a reading group and without realizing it, I answered them all to myself.

So, maybe this is something I can succeed at. Maybe it will take a few good books for me to fall in love with reading to then make reading things that don’t necessarily interest me, understandable. I have yet to receive my test scores, and I have yet to make-up for past times and read Catcher in The Rye, but I now have a book on my bookshelf without a pretty bookmark in it, just waiting to get passed on to someone else who may be of interest.

It’s amazing what friends can do for you. They may never realize what their brief suggestion really did for me.

If my student can’t get through the book they are supposed to, not because they’re lazy and not because they’re too busy, but because they simply can’t retain the story provided, I will tell them that reading is a gift within all of us and when you find that book that takes your mind to a different place that nobody else can take you to, you will be able to overcome this challenge and want more of it.

I bought another Sparks novel titled, True Believer. It was again the only used book of his on the shelf, so I went for it. I have yet to open it up, but am as excited to begin this, as I was on my second ballet recital, or my second time flying in an airplane. A now familiar place of calmness and focus, where I no longer fear not getting to – The End.


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