How I started to read

I remember very well how I started to read. On my first day at infant's school my teacher, Mrs Kebble, gave me a book to read. Of course I didn't have a clue what these strange markings were on the pages. At this point I must mention that before going to school I hadn't really troubled myself to investigate the rows of books on the shelves in my house, as to my mind they didn't look anywhere near as much fun as the make believe world I created every day in the living room. Some days the sofa was a war horse leading me into battle and on others it was a space ship flitting me from planet to planet.

"Come on read it out loud!" barked Mrs Kebble impatiently.

"I can't" came my feeble reply. "I don't know how to!"

"Well then, we'll have to come back to you later in the year" said the unconcerned pedagogue.

In a normal world that would have meant some intensive reading classes, but this was the swinging sixties and we were very much left to our own devices playing in the sand pit or creating Picasso like paintings with erratic brush strokes! Reading lessons were clearly out of kilter with the educational establishment.

"How was I going to learn to read then?" I asked myself. I was piqued. So I went to the reading corner, where the books were kept, and took a handful of Rainbow books, one for each colour of the rainbow, and took them home.

When I got home I sought out my Dad.

"Can I read these books with you?" I asked.

So I spent the next few weeks sitting on the arm of my Dad's chair reading the Rainbow books out loud. I started with red and progressed through all the colours of the rainbow until I reached violet. It can't have taken me much more than a few weeks, but I was reading.

Later in the year Mrs Kebble summoned me to her table.

"Read this" she said shoving an open book in front of my nose. Needless to say it was a doddle!

"Ah, now you can read"

"Yes, but it had nothing to do with you!" How I wish I'd blurted out those words but I contented myself with a feeble smile and left the Tory Government to sort out the shortfalls of the Educational system!