My Gratitude to My Teacher


I am thankful to my English and American Literature teacher Dr. Debra Young. She made a huge difference in my life that I am eternally grateful for.

So far this year I have read 36 books and last year it was 30. I never had any desire to read. I had heard all the famous saying, ‘Readers are Leaders.’ However, I had always thought reading was a waste of time. I could not have been more wrong, because reading has changed my life.

When I was a kid I struggled with reading and also had a stuttering problem. I can remember getting behind the other students in the reading classes. After awhile I stopped trying and developed a distaste for it. Often we fear the unknown or what we have difficulty understanding. I read one book in high school and that was Animal Farm by George Orwell. I enjoyed that book but could not bring myself to read anything else because I did not understand different author’s writing styles and the thickness of books was intimidating.

I was a junior in college when I took my first Literature class. I had heard the horror stories from other students who did not like to read about how difficult the classes were. But then a student informed me that Dr. Debra Young was the teacher to get for both English and American Literature. I took her classes. Young was such a great teacher that she put my mind at ease with her teaching style and brought out a curiosity and desire to read.

There is nothing specific that she communicated but rather her passion for reading and the lives of the authors sparked my interest. It created in my heart a passion to know and to read for myself. The more I read the better at reading I became and the quicker that I was able to read a book. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Young for inspiring me to read and indirectly removing my mental barriers. Thank you for making a difference in my life.

Today I probably buy too many books for me to read, but there is an excitement in wanting to know the knowledge that the author will be communicating. If you struggle with reading like I did then let me assure you that while it may be intimidating cracking open a book that it can change your life. Below are a few tips I use when reading.

  1. I use a highlighter and tabs to denote excellent quotes and observations. It helps me to keep up my pace.
  2. A good author will typically tell you in the first sentence of a paragraph what it is about and then summarize it in the last sentence. Therefore, you only need to read two sentences.
  3. You will be able to get the gist of a what a write is saying and thus you can skip portions of the book.
  4. Get into a disciplined mind set. This is key because in our world it can be difficult to read due to constant distractions. Put your phone in another room.
  5. If a book is making you tired then it could just be the book like ‘War and Peace’ or it could be that you are not reading fast enough and your mind is getting bored. Therefore, use your finger to help your eyes as you read.

I personally use these tips when reading. You have the ability to read anything as long as you set your mind to do it. Thanks.

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