I blame Walt Disney….partially. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FShFSqulwL8

If I had never seen Beauty and the Beast in 5th grade I would have been all right.

Not really. My interest in reading was encouraged by my third grade teacher who was almost fresh out of college.  He read portions of The Chronicles of Narnia to my class during our reading time. But he didn’t stop there. That man had us reciting Shakespeare and Poe…some of which I still remember.

I had that same teacher again in 6th grade. This time around he had me memorize Kipling’s “If”. 

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;”

I even remember borrowing a copy of  Bulfinch’s Mythology from him.PhonePics 034

I literally read that book from cover to cover. It fed my overactive imagination with stories from Greek, Roman, Celtic and Oriental lore.  That same year I challenged myself to read at least 100 books. I exceeded the challenge by 21 and felt very proud of myself.

Yeah, it had to have been that third grade teacher who set me up.