Where it all began or why the kindergarten photo?
The best way to build literacy in a community is to start at the beginning or in other words, at birth (or even before!). So while I could have used a baby picture, I thought the kindergarten photo was a better choice.
My love of reading and books was fostered by my parents - my mother found a way to provide books, even when money was tight. I remember sitting at the end of our driveway, leaning against a tree, waiting for the mailman and hoping that he might deliver the latest copy of Best in Children's Books. We also had lots of Little Golden Books. Who could forget The Poky Little Puppy!
Another vivid memory I have is of my father reading an encyclopedia. After working all day at Piper Aircraft and eating dinner, he would choose a lettered volume and page through it, reading whatever drew his attention.
I share these memories as they were the foundational literacy experiences of my life. My dad shared and modeled his love of learning as he randomly picked up an encyclopedia and began to read. My mom provided the reading material, even when it was financially difficult to do so. Thus, when I walked into Mrs. Kling's kindergarten class for the first time and saw all the books that were there, just waiting for me, I was ready to go, and most importantly to grow.