Who Taught You How To Read And Write?

(I assume this should go in IMHO. I will be interested to find out why it shouldn’t, if that happens:).)

A general question for all of you: Who taught you how to read and write? For me, it was definitely my mother. I often would much rather be playing, as a small child. But she was always the one who took me aside, and said, No, this is much more important.

I guess for the rest of you, if could be your father, a teacher, a sibling. My adopted cousin was purportedly self-taught, if you can believe that. And tragically, some people never had someone who took the time. And so they are functionally illiterate.

Sad. But for the rest of you: Who taught you?


I don’t remember myself, but according to my mother, I taught myself to read. She had been a preschool teacher before I was born, and so would have read to me a lot when I was young. At that age, children often remember the words of the stories read to them, an apparently I just was able to make te connection between te spoken words and the words of te oage.

Dad taught me to read, but he didn’t mean to; he spent a lot of his free time reading and was willing to answer “Papa, what are you doing?” at length. He was as surprised as Mom when my teacher called them to yell at them for “forcing their poor child to learn to read” (cry me a river, you prescriptive bitch; children aren’t Lego pieces).

Writing came later, starting the year before first grade.

Writing well came even later and can be attributed mostly to my college teachers and to an English programmer and MUD-writer who finally explained how to create good descriptions. My school teachers had often complained about my descriptions being poor but appeared unable to describe how to make them rich; an experiment in 9th grade had determined that particular teacher’s idea of “rich” meant “pour on the sweetness and pile up the polysyllabic adjectives” (bleagh).

I was too busy making mud pies to learn to read before I went to school. I learned to read from Mrs. Kiester, my first grade teacher, at about age six.

I learned in school, I still remember that once I learned how to pronounce the letters I started reading. By the end of the first month in 1 st grade I was reading pretty well. The first word I had to sound out was the word “Well” I have no idea what the rest of the sentence was about.

My mother. It has been so many years; but I still remember. She cut squares from red construction paper and wrote letters on them. She would sit on the floor with me and teach me the letters. I was reading by about 2. I knew how to count even earlier. I imagine I had an advantage having an older sister, too.

I also remember in first grade the kids were so far behind. The teacher would arrange the seats in a half circle and we would take turns reading aloud. The kids would hold a strip of cardboard under each line* as they tried to read by sounding out each word. CA A A A A TUH. I would want to scream: CAT! IT IS CAT YOU IDIOT!

I do not know why I did not jump up and say the word. I guess even then I was polite and patient.:smiley:

It took so long to read the book that way and I wanted to know what was going to happen to Kim and Wendy!

*I recall being very indignant that the teacher forced me to use the card also when I so obviously did not need ANY help. She also wrote our names on cards and required us to hold the card next to our paper and copy our names. I DID NOT NEED TO COPY! I knew my name and how to spell it.

That is the first time I questioned authority and the ridiculous rules the adults think up.

Miss Hanneman, my first grade teacher.

Exactly twenty years later I finished my Ph.D., so I’m sort of skeptical about the value of early reading. Don’t tell my daughter’s Montessori teachers.

My parents taught me to read; it was a side-effect of them reading out loud to me. Learning to write was more of a first grade thing.

Bert and Ernie. As a little kid in the 1970s, I watched Sesame Street whenever it was on. I could read far better than my peers when I got to grade school.

My mother, when I was three or four, how to sound out letters and string the sounds together into words. I still remember her justing telling me the word “field”, because it was a hard one.

My mother herself learned around age 8, so she always wanted her children to learn earlier. I think I began being taught with one of those Phonics kits around 2 or 3. *Pam and Sam sat under the tree . . . *

I learned to read and write in the first grade. Before that I could recognize some words, but not really read.

I learned my first word, all by myself, in second grade. I was reading ahead in our book and came on the word “hiccup”. I could see “cup” and as I’d been told I sounded out the other letters. Between that and the story context I got it, and was so pleased with myself I trotted up to the front desk to tell my teacher about it. She glanced at it, told me “we aren’t that far up in the book yet” and ordered me to go sit back down. Way to harsh on a kid Miss Aley.

A lovely and angelic nun (never met another like her) at St. Anne’s school in Castle Shannon, Pa. in first grade. She made it hit me like magic.

Reading was just family in general; grandmother, mother, Dad, brother. Books were always a big part of our lives and I can’t say one taught me to read more than another. Writing was a different story; first grade teacher. I had already been reading at least basic childrens books for a year but for some reason had not made the leap from the mental aspect (reading) to the physical aspect.

My mom taught me to read, inadvertently. She would read me stories, and I would memorize them and “read” them to my Dad. After a period of time- I just began to read. Apparently my Kindergarten teachers noticed this and commented to my mom that I had a sharp memory, since I could remember stories, etc… and my mom told them I could read. They didn’t believe her, and later in the year called my mom to say… “Did you know The Tof can read?!”

Writing is another story, because I don’t really remember. Probably a slow progression through the first several grades, so I couldn’t peg it to any one person or teacher.

I don’t recall (it was a long time ago, after all), but I do remember an episode one day in my kindergarten class - the teacher has placed labels on various items around the room (DESK, CHALKBOARD, DOOR, etc.), and was astonished that I was able to read and pronounce the word ‘TERRARIUM’.

I don’t think I knew what the word meant at that point, but I recall thinking “well, duh…how else would it be pronounced?”

Mom. She was teaching my older brother his ABCs and simple household words by taping the printed names of things on to them (couch, fridge, table), and I picked them up too.

Mrs. Hargrove, my first grade teacher. Like Sattua, I did very well and am a voracious reader, despite not having learned until I went to school, so I always tell parents not to worry about their kids not being early readers.

Thanks so much for asking this question. It inspired me to google to see if Mrs. Hargrove is still around, and guess what? There was an article published about her this week – 90 years old and still teaching! I even remember that her birthday was December 25. Thank you, Mrs. Hargrove. I remember when I was in first grade, I decided that if I ever wrote a book, I would dedicate it to you for teaching me to read. I haven’t been published yet, but I’m working as a writer, and I’m still grateful for your encouragement.

I remember my father teaching me. Most likely my mother did some of the work as well, but I only remember my father.

Oddly, the reading lesson that I remember best didn’t involve a book. Instead my dad used the instructions on a model baseball game.

My mother read to me a lot. After a while I had the stories memorized, so I’d pick up the book and recite the narrative. In time, I learned to identify the printed words.

Writing took a little longer. One day I decided to get my older brother in trouble, so I carved his initials in a door. Since I didn’t know exactly how to make the letters, they knew I had done it.