Everyone has fond memories of Elementary School.
You remember: Elementary School, the time in life when we weren't all completely stressed out of our minds? Those were the days. We got to take naps during class, spend all day outside playing games on Field Day, and attend class parties during the holiday season.
I looked forward to these events as much as the next kid, but what I loved the absolute most was storytime.
As soon as I saw the teacher pick up whichever book she was reading aloud, I would zoom over to my spot on the carpet and eagerly await the next installment beside my friends.
There was something magical about hearing a story unfold as a class.
Thanks to the amazing teachers I had in my former Elementary School years, I was introduced to the magic of storytelling at a very young age.
As a kid who grew up already loving film and TV, I started to realize the transportive power of books. When my teachers read stories aloud, it was like I could watch it unfolding in my head. I couldn't wait for the next day when I would figure out what happened next.
The first series I can remember having been read to me was Junie B. Jones in Mrs. Witherington's first-grade class.
In third grade, Mrs. Frye started to introduce us to more difficult books, such as Where the Red Fern Grows.
Hearing stories read aloud led to my personal growth and inspiration.
At this point, teachers started encouraging students to start reading alone, but my love for consuming stories never dwindled when storytime ended.
These teachers throughout my childhood not only blessed me with a lifelong love (heck, obsession) with reading and storytelling, but they influenced me to try to create my own stories.
From third grade onwards, I started to write my own series of short stories based on characters I'd imagined and would read them aloud to the class.
They always garnered a positive reaction, and for a while, my classmates would ask me when the next installment of my stories would be finished. It felt amazing when I realized that people were actually interested in something I had completely made up — so much so, that I believe it has played a huge part in my subsequent life decisions.
My love of writing and entertainment, and my willingness to pursue it as a career, stemmed from the encouragement I felt from the teachers in my childhood.
As I write this, I realize that I also have to thank the teachers who led me to be interested in music and drama, and the ones who challenged me to delve deeper into the study of literature.
It's been a long time since I imagined stepping foot in a kindergarten classroom, but I hope that all future generations of students in this increasingly digital world continue to benefit from the tradition of hearing stories told orally.
I'm living proof that sometimes, the most unassuming things from your childhood can make the biggest difference.
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