A Reading Time Capsule

If I was making a time capsule of my life, I would use only books. I have been an honorary member of the Nerdy Book Club my entire life. Prying me away from a well told story was always a challenge and continues to be an obstacle, constantly in the way of other forms of productivity. Books can encapsulate every moment of my life and symbolize the relationships that have meant the most to me.

In my years before schooling, my mom and grandma’s voices were consistently hoarse and their backs equally sore from frequent library trips. My most precious memories are finding the perfect spot on a lap, that seemed to be shaped just for me and relinquishing the real world. My dedication to literature was steadfast and I rarely got tired of a good story. My mom can still recite the words in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, The Polar Express, and Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? These four stories would be the first to be placed in my capsule.

By the time I reached first grade I was eager to read books on my own. I devoured Junie B. Jones and Amelia Bedelia. The silly and innocent nature of these reads captured my attention. My high pitched giggle was usually audible as I attempted to read beneath the desk. In third grade, I would only read books that were part of a series. It comforted me to know that once a book was finished, it wasn’t truly over. During this time, I was extremely active, would only wear army green or navy blue, and spent the majority of my time with boys. My mother was devastated at the disappearance of her little girl. As a replacement, she received a dirty ragamuffin that had a very difficult time sitting still, unless there was a good book in my hand. The texts I read coincided with my personality shift; Matt Christopher, Ralph the Mouse, the Fudge series, Hank the Cowdog, and Sideways Stories of Wayside School filled my limited idle moments and now are placed neatly into the concrete artifacts of my life.

During upper elementary I was able to participate on my school’s Battle of the Books team.  Being on this team fed my hunger for words while starving my calm disposition, replacing it with a ravenous desire to read every book on the immense list. When the battle list was in my hands, my adrenaline spiked and my competitiveness was in high gear. I was off and sprinting through pages. I loved talking with my team about the novels and found some of my most loved literature through this avenue including: The Giver, Holes, Bud, Not Buddy, and Wringer. This experience made me crave deep conversation that has remained with me into my adult life.

Middle school presented a whole new set of challenges. I was placed in an unfamiliar environment. I had no idea where I fit into the mass confusion of pre-puberty. My chosen literature, along with my wide range of outfits worn throughout this time are perfect additions to the time capsule of my life. One day, I would walk into school with my perfectly preppy pink polo and mini-skirt clutching The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants. The next, I would don my blinding pink fishnets under a cross-bone t-shirt while reading Go Ask Alice. In other moments, I would wear loose fitting jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, throw my skateboard in my locker, and grab Pretty Good for a Girl. Middle school was a year of exploration and confusion regarding personality, but also an interesting exploration in literature choices.

Finally, in high school and beyond I found my niche. I had an amazing group of friends and was involved in an incomprehensible amount of activities and sports. I have fond memories of reading Gossip Girl, Jodi Picoult, and Nicholas Sparks while drinking Diet Coke and tanning by the lake with all of my girl friends. We felt much cooler than we actually were, I’m sure. Beyond the sappy books that I adored, I fell in love with The Color Purple, Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, and To Kill a Mockingbird through my literature courses. My years in high school are filled with fond memories of great stories, my own and the ones I only read about.

Now, in college, books drive my passion. I consume as much young adult literature as possible. I want to be able to recommend great books to my future students and pass down my passion for words. Recent recommendations include: The Mighty Miss Malone, Savvy, Mockingbird, and Girl in Translation. I thank the Nerdy Book Club Members and education bloggers for inspiring me daily and encouraging me to pursue education when much of the world is not showing the same support.

My time capsule is heavy and complete. From Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to The Color Purple my life is a story, most easily told through the books that I have held in my hands.
Reidun Schreiner is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh majoring in elementary education with minors in reading and language arts. She is looking forward to sharing her love of books/stories with future students. She blogs about education at complacencyconundrum.blogspot.com and about books at magnificentpause.blogspot.com