Shelby T.

New Market, AL

"At the age of four she could read fast and well and she naturally began hankering over books." The preceding line is just a segment of Roald Dahl's whimsical novel, Matilda, which has always won my heart over and ultimately inspired me in my future profession. The novel amused me with just the right dose of humor, pulled my heartstrings with just the right tug, and mystified me with a few miracles. The novel possesses so much significance to me that I have an autographed copy on a shelf in my room. Matilda's reading desire, Ms. Honey's nurturing attitude, and the overall sense of independent literacy led me to pursue a career as an elementary reading coach.

The story of a young girl from a troubled family is overwhelmingly ordinary, but Dahl incorporates the idea that Matilda is an avid reader and a brilliant child. Most coming-of-age novels show gradual betterment over the entire storyline, but Matilda is simply excellent from the first page. The Wormwood household can appropriately labeled downbeat and unconstructive, so Matilda absorbed books to block out her parents' negativity. In the story, she would walk to the library and read for hours on end until she had completed every literary work in the children section, and then some in the adult section. The way she strives for books, despite numerous obstacles, is a prime example of why I want to help children read. Ms. Honey's role in the book drives my future occupation choice as well. Due to similar childhoods, the two characters relate and thus bond over the course of the book. The sacred bond between student and teacher is somewhat run of the mill, but Matilda and Ms. Honey's striking similar childhoods make that bond unshakable. In my elementary years, kind and understanding teachers surrounded me, and I believe that every child deserves that same consideration that Matilda and I received. Ms. Honey's nurturing persona sets a standard of the educator I would like to be in five years.

Upon completing this novel, the question of literacy in my home state never crossed my mind. A few months later, I began tutoring elementary students; it opened my eyes about the lack of literacy in North Alabama schools. Children are struggling to read and comprehend even at the secondary level, and I find that very disturbing. You have to read to survive in our country, and if you cannot do that, your future is in grave danger. Every child, no matter what background, needs to learn how to read. Matilda enlightened me on real life problems that sealed my profession choice.

A.C. Grayling once said, "To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries." Stories like Matilda promote reading in such a way that make the reader crave to read more and influences that reader to teach others.