Friday, February 23, 2007

The Victory Drill Book

Matthew's current favourite book is the beloved Moo Baa La La La. It's a good book. I've been reading it to him for so long that we don't actually need the book - we just recite it.
I've had lots of favourite books growing up, but the one iconic book that stands out for both my sister and I is the Victory Drill Book.
I'm not sure why Becky and I took to this book quite so much.
Quite simply put, it is a book full of words. It's a traditional drill book from probably the 1950's. It's a very simply laid out book that starts with the most basic of words and goes up to very difficult words.

At the front of the book there is a guideline that says the average number of words per grade level. My sister and I took that quite seriously, and I think we quite honestly believed that we could be the best readers in the world.
On our annual trips to Florida, where my parents would drive the 23 hour drive in 2 days, we would have Victory Drill book competitions. We would speed through the lines of words as fast as humanly possible. We would time ourselves. If you flip through the book you can see we have actually counted the words, and written numbers next to some of the words (i.e. 400 and 800).
Tonight when Matthew wanted yet another story I pulled out the Victory Drill Book. He was not impressed when I started just reading off lines of text.
To me it was pretty funny.
I remembered the good times we had in serious reading competition.
In the letter to parents at the front of the book it claims that doing the drills in this book would lead to "reading success".
I think that the authors of the book would be happy to know that I did go on to reading success. I do think that the hours and hours spent reading those words helped me develop some pretty amazing spelling skills. Growing up I almost always had perfect spelling tests. And, I did go on to graduate from journalism school. Thanks, Victory Drill Book!

I'm not going to force Matthew to do drills. I don't actually think that my parents ever pushed us into doing these drills. In fact, I think my parents never knew why we were so impressed with this book. They certainly provided us with books that had pictures. But, I guess somethings are just a bizarre hit.
Hey, Beck, I think we should have a reading face off - one more time. Just to see who is the faster reader!!!


becky said...

If I couldn't beat you then, I'm not about to try now! I may be 2 years older, but I was no match for you and the victory drill book!

kate said...

At the time I didn't understood your love of the drill, but now that I realize your personality is one that loves competition, especially when you can win! The great news is both of you grew up loving to read all those words in books, so it worked, despite no pictures.