The Substitute Teacher: A reader is born

Now that VIC has a class library, who is going to take care of the books?

January 03, 2023 10:06 pm | Updated 10:06 pm IST

Story so far: ST surprises VI C by reading them stories and suggesting that they have their own class library.  

The students of VI C were sure that books were magical. How else could they explain the way the books in their library grew?  The ST had suggested having a class library and the first books too had come from him. Then, slowly, others had begun to contribute. Manisha had brought a bunch of books someone had gifted her that she had never read. Rehan had brought the books his older sister had outgrown while Nidhi had brought the books her baby brother no longer wanted to read.  

The books in the VI C library were old. Often, they were torn and many were brown with age. But VI C loved them because they contained wonderful stories. They enjoyed hearing the ST read them. Some books had pictures and VI C loved to look at them. Then, Daniya started reading out loud and Manisha joined her. Others gathered around them to listen and, before they knew it, VI C had begun to read the books themselves. They were all reading. Except Ritwik.

Surprising twist

“I don’t like books!” he announced. 

VI C was shocked to hear him tell the ST that. Wasn’t he afraid that the teacher would scold him? Or worse, give him a lecture? The ST did neither. Instead, he made Ritwik the Class Librarian. Ritwik was startled and a little scared. “What will I have to do?” he asked.

“Simple,” the ST said. “You will keep the books in order. Make sure they are returned on time. And they are not damaged!”

Ritwik was a very strict librarian. He watched over the books and was often seen counting them all. Then one day, he opened one of them. He liked what he saw and so he looked at some more. From there it was only a matter of time before he began to read and read more. Soon, Ritiwk was reading the books in the class library. To his enormous surprise, he discovered that he liked books. So, he read them. Because he liked what he read, he read more. And more.

VI C was lost in its own world of games, lunch, friends and now books. So, it didn’t notice Ritwik, the class librarian, begin to read or count how many books he was reading. And with how much joy!

By the time they noticed all these things, it was too late. Ritwik was a reader for life.

(To be continued)

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