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The Magic in the Sticker

Taylor Bauknecht

When I was little, I never liked reading. I thought it was a big waste of time and completely boring. All throughout elementary school, I was always asked to read in front of the class, and I dreaded going every day for that reason. I would start getting colorful picture books just so I could look at all of the images instead. Reading made me feel like it was time to go to bed, because by the end of the story I was too tired to keep my eyes open. Then one day, everything about reading changed for me. There was that one special teacher that made a difference in the way I looked at books.

It was the beginning of the school year and time to go check which teacher I had for third grade. As I glanced at the list of four different teachers, I saw my name under one. I was hoping it wouldn’t be a teacher like my previous school years. I needed a teacher who would show me how to do things and encourage me. My teacher’s name was Mrs. McBride, and I could tell something was different about her right away. I had never heard of her before, but I walked in and noticed her room was covered in decorations. There was a bright, colorful ABC rug lying on the floor waiting for little bottoms to come sit on it. Her desk was packed with hall passes, papers, and block

calendar was laying in the front so everyone could see. She looked very friendly with her shiny, white teeth lighting up the room, and it made me feel confident about being in there. During each class period, she was trying her hardest to make sure that we comprehended everything we were being taught and helped in any way that she could. If we didn’t want to read in front of everyone, she wouldn’t make us. This would make me feel comfortable, unlike how I used to feel when other teachers made me read out loud. When it would be time to do our silent reading hour, she began to notice that most of us weren’t participating. Most of the class was just staring into space, while a few were actually reading. She came up with a very unique idea, and she couldn’t wait to try it out.

 Mrs. McBride found a new way to help us stay interested in reading. Every time we found one of our vocabulary words of the month in our books, she would give us a sticker to put on our name tags in front of our little desks. This strategy made it seem like it was a brutal competition between all of the classmates to find one. I loved trying to find the words in the long chapter books. I looked forward to going

going to class everyday just so I would be the first person to find one. I had my name tag that was once plain, completely filled with stickers. I made sure that I got a different sticker each time. Some of the stickers were shiny and loud, while some were dull and boring. I adored finding stickers so much that I couldn’t wait to begin reading when I got home. I would search for the words in the books until bedtime, so I could bring the books to school to show my teacher how many I found.


“Mrs. McBride, I found seven more stickers last night!” I would say.


 “I’m so proud of you,” she would reply, while putting a smile on my face.


 I even read on the bus ride home. I ended up progressively reading more and more each day. At first, I started out with little picture books or children’s books to just try to find the words, but then I started to read more chapter books. I was beginning to actually enjoy reading the books instead of just searching for the words.

When I started to realize that reading really wasn’t that bad, I felt more confident about myself. I noticed I was starting to get quicker with my reading abilities, and I was able to read more words that might’ve been challenging to me before. I didn’t have to dread going to school anymore because now I had something to look forward to. I even wanted to volunteer to read in front of the class instead of hiding my face in my shirt to avoid it.


 My caring teacher made the biggest impact on me with bribing my class with stickers. It helped me improve my skills and affected me in the long run. I love reading any type of book, and I do it every day and enjoy it. I am one of Barnes and Noble’s biggest fans. The power in the sticker made my whole interpretation of reading change completely. I see reading more as a way to relax and learn at the same time, because if you find the right books, it is very easy to fall in love with it. I now see the importance of reading, and how it can really help you to succeed in the future.

This story is about a little third-grade girl, Taylor, who was having a hard time in Elementary School. She couldn't focus while she was reading, no matter how hard she tried. It was becoming more difficult each day. One day everything changed for her. Her teacher did something so magical that it not only changed that year for Taylor, but changed the rest of her life for the better.

"It was such an inspiring story." -James Wood


"Amazing details." -John Carey


"It filled me up with joy to hear how she loves reading now." -Craig Brown