Sunday, May 1, 2011


Kalisha has always loved pictures and words. I would occasionally entertain her during the church service by getting out every photograph in my billfold. She would scrutinize them over and over. At home, she would take a package of newly developed pictures and spread them all out on the floor, like she was going to play Concentration.
She was careful with them and would crawl around the perimeter of her pictures and examine them for hours.
Perhaps the pictures were the driving force behind her love of reading. She started by 'reading' the pictures in books or making up her own version of the story.

When her nieces and nephews were very little, she would read to them every chance she got or when she convinced them to set still long enough.
Unfortunately, they all got older and learned to read better than Kalisha, so she continued to read aloud, but for herself.

She has never lost her love of books. She learned how to find and reserve books at the library. On one occasion, (she was in her teens) I noticed that some of the books she was bringing home from the library had flourescent pink labels attached to them. I asked what that meant. She told me they were national library loans. Not knowing what that was, she explained that when the book she wanted was not available at any of the public library branches in our city, they had to get it from somewhere else in the country.
I didn't even know that was possible and asked her how she knew it. She told me that she just told the 'library people' that she had to have those books, and they told her how to get them. Perhaps I should have a little of her tenacity.
The reason she HAD to have them is because she reads all of the books in a series, and could not go on with the series until she had the next one. She has read every Disney book, all of the Full House series, the Michelle series, the Boxcar Children series and then the Baby Sitter Club series. There are 143 Baby Sitter Club books. (I know!) After she finished all 143 from the library, she started a quest to own all of them. She searched E-Bay, the Half Price bookstore, Borders and Barnes and Noble. She didn't care if they were used; she just needed them all!!!
All of her books have to be kept in numerical order on her bookshelves and they go back on the shelves in the right order. After she finally got all of them (a great deal from Borders, but that will be another post) she started reading them all over again from #1. Remember that she had just read all 143 from the library. If you have ever read a Baby Sitter Club book, you know that every one starts out with the telling of how the baby sitters club got started. So, if it were you or me, we would skip that part and get to the story. Not Kalisha! She reads every word in every book. How do I know that? She reads out loud. (I can almost recite the beginning of the books) AND she has a reading ritual. Same times, every day, AND she reads 6 or more books at a time. One chapter in each book, until she has read a chapter in all 6 plus. How does she remember what is going on in each book? I don't have a clue!
Right now, she is not only reading 6 Baby Sitter Club books, but she is also reading 4 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books. Over the years, she has been given cute laminated bookmarks by people who know her love of reading. Does she use them? No! She uses paper Monopoly money. Don't ask me for an explanation. I frankly don't care.

If you happen to come into the room in the middle of her reading time, she will read to herself, but would rather that you leave so she can read aloud again.
I am not certain how much she retains, but she can usually give an overview of the contents of a book. If you listen to her read (sometimes, it is impossible not to) you realize that she reads fast and if she comes to a word she can't pronounce, she just picks out a few of the letters and makes a new word.

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