York Community High School

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Sheila Fleming

My Reading Autobiography

My Reading Autobiography


I remember, as a little kid, that everyone read to me:  mom, dad, Aunt Marie, Aunt Joan, grandmas and grandpas, even babysitters.  As soon as I learned to read by myself, you would never find me without a book.  I read in the car on the way to school and on the way home.  Family vacations were always long car trips...I sat in the back of the station wagon with my pile of library books, happy as a clam.  In first grade, I found my favorite book:  Little Witch.  I checked it out once a year until I finished eighth grade, even after I outgrew it.  (I tried to find it again a few years ago but, alas, it was out of print.)


I soon graduated to mysteries, specifically Nancy Drew.  But it didn't take me long to become annoyed by the fact that, once a book, Nancy had to be rescued by her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, so I had to move on to the Hardy Boys.  When I turned ten, Aunt Joan gave me my first Sherlock Holmes book and my love of mysteries was carved in stone.  In high school, I even found myself a member of a club called the Sherlock Holmes Society.  Yes, I was that much of a nerd.


While I still love mysteries, I've expanded my horizons over the years, and will now pick up long sagas, Romantic and Victorian Age novels, current best sellers, sci-fi/fantasy, and almost anything else that my friends recommend.  Last week, I sat on the floor of the Maui airport, charging my iPad so I could read the final chapters of Les Miserables...for the second time.  I think the teenage girl on the floor next to me--charging her phone--found it a little strange to see me silently wiping away tears, but after reading about this man for 1500 pages, OF COURSE I would cry at his funeral!  A book that touches my emotions is a book I can love!  Don't get me wrong:  I don't love every book I've ever touched.  For example, I'm not a fan of book-length nonfiction, preferring fictional stories into which I can escape. 


One of the things I love the most is getting a great book recommendation from a current or former student.  For instance, about fifteen years ago, when my students started making references to Harry and Hermione, and comparing their teachers to professors McGonagall and Snape, I finally had to ask, "Who ARE these people?!"  They insisted I read the first book or I would be "culturally illiterate"--ask me about that phrase some time.  Anyway, I read HP and the SS and, like everyone else, I got hooked on Harry.  Right now, I'm reading a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, recommended to me on Facebook by a former student from the class of 1994.  (Don't try to find me on FB; I only accept friend requests from people over 21!)  Anyway, she told me about it a couple of times before I bought it, and now I have trouble putting it down; I find myself lost in the streets of Barcelona as the main character takes me along the trail of a mystery:  what happened to author Julián Carax?  Who is the mysterious stranger who wants to find and BURN every copy of every book Carax ever wrote?  And why?


I would love to think that my students all love to read as much as I do, but 31 years of teaching experience tells me that's not the case.  My hope is that you will find AT LEAST one book you love this year, a couple that you like, and a couple that you can tolerate.  And maybe, in twenty years, we'll be chatting on Facebook and you'll convince me to read some book that you're passionate about; I'll be retired by then and have even MORE time to read!


P.S.  While I was writing this, I took a break and went on Amazon.  I found a copy of Little Witch; it will be delivered to my house by Monday!



My Schedule

Class information will be posted in Google Classroom!!


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Period 1.........English 11.........................A323

Period 2.........English 11.........................A323

Period 3.........AP Literature....................A323

Period 4.........Lunch.......................Starbucks

Period 5.........Curriculum planning.......A350

Period 6..........Student Council.......;......A323

Period 7.........AP Literature....................A323

Period 8.........Planning Period...............A350


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