In fourth grade, my teacher Mrs. Mendleson held an annual read-off. We were allowed to read whatever kind of books we wanted, the goal was simple: read more than everyone else. In two weeks, I read over five thousand pages more than anyone else in my class. I always have excelled in reading. I was able to read eighth grade books in fourth grade. I owe my reading abilities to my role model. I was taught to read in a very unique way by my grandma Judy. She taught me in a king sized bed, after school, with the same book as every other day, The Cat in the Hat.
Everyday my grandma picked me up from pre-school, fed me lunch, and then it was time for my nap. I would place myself in the center of my grandparents king size bed that felt as big as the ocean. I pulled the handmade blue quilt up to my chin and waited for my grandma to come to read to me. Every day she wore a shirt with Whinnie the Pooh on it, and she smelled of the sweet pea fragrance from Bath and Body Works. My grandma was the woman who knew everyone, and everyone loved her. She impacted the lives of hundreds.
She is my role model in life and my inspiration to achieve my dreams. After retiring she had a babysitting business, where she would babysit kids while she babysat my sisters and me. She didnt just teach me to read, she taught my sisters and the other kids she watched. I loved nap time because it was the only time I had alone with my grandma, without my three sisters or any other kid she watched. She always asked what book we were going to read today, yet my answer was always the same, The Cat in the Hat.
My book was so worn out that duct tape held together the binding, the corners of the books werent even blue anymore, and the cardboard on the inside of the cover was exposed. I listened with great focus everyday to the point of memorization, and my grandma didnt even have to look at the book anymore while reading. She rattled off the verses for each page without a second thought. It was music to my ears. I loved that silly cat. I loved that Sally and her brother were able to clean all of their toys up right before their mom came home.
Even though it was raining outside, they had a blast. I loved the way that the fish was always saying, Stop, mother wont like this! Also he way that the words flowed, it was the best. I looked forward to reading it every day. One day, like always, I waited for my grandma to meet me in her room. I waited for her to explore to the world of Whoville, where I would meet a talking cat, and have a day of fun. But when she walked in I noticed she was forgetting something, The Cat in the Hat! I was stunned. We always read it, and I never planned on getting a new book.
When I asked why she didnt bring it she said she was sick of it and its the same every time. It rains, the cat comes, they have fun, they make a mess, they clean the mess and their mother comes home. She wanted to read something new. Oh god, I thought I was having a midlife crisis and I was only five years old. What were we going to read? Nothing is the same as The Cat in the Hat. I didnt think I would be able to follow along or understand the story. I knew the words of the story; I could recite them without looking at the book.
What if I couldnt read with my grandma’she started to read, but I tried to neglect her. I hid my head under the covers and plugged my ears. She started reading Green Eggs and Ham. I am Sam. I am Sam. Sam I am, she started to read. I refused to read something else besides, The Cat in the Hat. But she ripped the covers right off of me and made me follow along. And on she read, Do you like green eggs and ham? Yuck, green eggs and ham! So I decided to see what person wants green eggs and ham and what he was up to with them.
As I looked at the page I recognized some of the words that were also in The Cat in the Hat. She continued, Would you like them, Here or there? I remember when the Cat ask if Sally and her brother would like to play! For all the other words I started to sound them out as my grandma read out loud. I stumbled over words like, anywhere, but I took them letter by letter. I then noticed I didnt hear my grandma anymore, and I was the only one reading! I was reading a book on my own, and I didnt memorize the words. I felt accomplished.
My grandma was so proud of me from then on, my grandma and I read a new book every day. In addition to reading, she taught me to be creative, imaginative and outspoken. She taught me that reading is a way to experience things I cant. Obviously Im never going to meet a singing cat, a talking fish or Thing 1 and Thing 2. But I can pretend. I feel like she is the reason why my dreams are so big, yet Im making them happen and nothing will stop me. I will become a nationally known baker, with a store front in New York. And right next to my office will be a picture of my grandma.
She will be there to remind me I worked hard for this and that I did accomplish my dreams. My determination to read more than any one in Mrs. Mendlesons class wasnt fired by the fact that I would have bragging rights, and that she would bring me a blizzard from Diary Queen the next day. It was because I loved reading. My grandma taught me that reading can be fun and imaginative, even if you read the same book. I still to this day reread books that I fall in love with; not every day, but on occasions I will. I cherish things that are special to me like books and this memory of my grandma.