As I've probably mentioned before, my best memory of fourth grade was our teacher Mrs. Knott reading aloud to us from the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" series. I may have used my multiplication tables more, but that year more than any other year, I found myself in the joy to having someone read aloud to me. Every day she would stop just a little too soon, leaving us with a yearning for more. When she had read every single one of the books, she went on to read a book by Laura and Almanzo's daughter Rose.
I've talked to other friends since then who had Mrs. Knott (and yes, I'll admit it: Behind her back, we called her Mrs. Snot) in the fourth grade in other years. Many of us have our own collections of the books. We still despise that old Nellie Olsen and were openly thrilled when she was bitten by all those leaches. We know how to spell separate--It has a "rat" in the middle. We envisioned the characters long before the face of "Little Joe" Cartwright became Pa to "Half-Pint."
Over the last few weeks, my friend Kim and an assortment of kin traveled across the country in a camper. Although their stated objective was to visit "the Big Heads" (Mt. Rushmore), the home of the Wilders in Missouri was, for a few of the travelers their equivalent of a visit to Graceland (also on the tour.) For the details of their trip--enough to entice this former fourth grader to head to Missouri, checkout that blog--Big Heads and More. The only thing that would improve the account would be to have Kim (or Mrs. Knott) reading it aloud.