I Read Books Upside Down

Today we have Upper Fort Stewart’s first embarrassing reader dilemma.

Hey Ian,

Here’s my problem: I’m a really good reader, I mean, really good for my age (I’m in Grade Seven). So I figured I could use a challenge, Leonardo wrote backwards in his journal, I thought I could try reading upside down. Unfortunately, I decided to try it out in English class and my teacher caught me. She thinks I was just pretending to read and daydreaming. Now I look like an idiot and no one will believe I was actually trying to read. The truth, I admit, is just too ridiculous. What should I do?


D. Essarrabme

That’s a tough one, D. Especially for a middle school kid. Reputation is everything in that zoo. Here’s what I would do: just go with it. Be the goofball kid for a while. Live it up. Then at the end of the term surprise your teacher with a brilliant essay on alternative modes of reading and their associated enhancements to creativity and cognition. That’ll do.

Alternatively, I have a plan B. Of course I have a plan B. It might get you into trouble with the authorities but life is short โ€” listen: break into your class at night and cut all the covers off every book*. Then, glue them back on upside down and backwards. What do they get you to read in Junior High anyway? The Incredible Journey? No one will be too upset with a messed up copy of The Incredible Journey, will they?

Okay, they probably will. Maybe you shouldn’t do that. At all. Um, stay in school.

Anyone else have any advice? Any legal advice? Don’t forget to send me embarrassing reader dilemmas of your own.

*Don’t do this. Ever.

8 responses to “I Read Books Upside Down”

  1. Ian, that was way too good! I cannot help but comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Are you sure you want to joke about this and encourage the kid cut all the covers off every book? He he! I imagine the surprise of the teacher, the laughter of the kids and the one who’ll have to take the blame if one of the teachers lands on your blog…

    So, if something happens, keep us posted.

    BTW: I’d be upset to see any book messed up. No matter the topic.

  2. Do you get one free blog post in jail along with your phone call? They should introduce that.

  3. haha right they probably should get a free blog post but only on blogger ๐Ÿ™‚ writing about their ‘The Incredible Journey’

  4. I think that’s cruel and unusual, Pearl. The authorities might not be able to get away with that.

  5. […] Wherein I advise children to vandalize books and ignore authority. I’m available for parental consultation too if anyone needs it. Read I Read Books Upside Down ยป […]

  6. If you get to post a blog in jail, who gets to comment? Your attorney, the prosecutor? The judge? The night guard, the warden, the Sheriff?

    D. So you were trying to read upside down. And? So, what did you do when the teacher called you a liar?

    Ask the teacher what to do when you have been called a liar? Hmm?

    You disrupted the class. You owe the teacher and the class an apology for that. Whether you drew attention from classmates to what you were doing, or the teacher noticed and dragged the whole class around to make fun of you, the class was disrupted. That is rude, no matter how it came about.

    And how can you be bored? The teacher sets the topic for the period. Nothing stops you from re-reading the material, from considering the history, the implications, the ethics, and the philosophy of the material. Nothing stops you from outlining the material, just in case (surprise!) there might be something there that didn’t catch your attention the first time. Regardless of what your school seems to teach, the point of covering material in class is to provide information. Not to pass tests. If you are feeling bored, then I suggest you need to work harder, find out more information about the topic. Determine if the version in your book is generally accepted as correct in the wide world, or possibly a version better suited to a liberal agenda (activists trying to get Congress to let them teach only their version of things). Much of the material on science, sex ed, government, and parts of Geography and state and US history are slanted to present only things certain people want you told. If you are bored, how about finding out the stuff other people know, that might conflict with your book? Oops, then instead of being bored, you also have to make up your mind which meaning you will use, and still pass the course tests.

    And what many of us that graduated high school found — you won’t know what information from grade school, junior high, high school, or the papers will make a difference, unless you first learned the material. A slight bonus — work on digging into the material, it not makes more sense the more you study, but you learn more techniques for studying difficult material.


  7. Great idea! I used to get in trouble all of the time from my 4th grade teacher about wasting time daydreaming.

    Ha! The laugh is on her as now I get paid to daydream…well, sort of. As a writer I get paid to actually put words on a piece of paper, but a lot of that involves daydreaming.


  8. Welcome to Upper Fort Stewart, Brad. Good advice. I think you might be one of those people who are award-winning teachers in alternate worlds. You’ve set my John-Taylor-Gatto-lovin’ heart all a twitter.

    And welcome to you, too, Hak. You know, when I was a kid I used to draw boxes around random words on my assignments โ€” totally confusing my parents and teachers. Now I’m a graphic artist and get paid to do essentially the same thing. Funny how stuff like that works out.

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