A Note From Jessie Wise

I was adopted by an elderly couple who had been educated in an isolated, rural one-room schoolhouse. They lived on a small subsistence farm in Tidewater Virginia.

Meme and Uncle Luther had been taught reading and spelling by sounding out letters, and they began to teach me the same way, forming words with alphabet blocks. Later they taught me to write on a small blackboard—I’m sure their own school experience had included a slate!

Because of my early education at home, I was placed directly into second grade when I started school. I consistently remained at the top of my class throughout school. I was also the only girl in that small, rural class to graduate from college. I think the foundation that I was given in reading—and the encouragement to do well academically—was a key to that success.

I went to a small liberal arts college where I majored in English. Later, in post-graduate work, I took courses in three states to be certified to teach in public schools.

Education, specifically reading education, has been a passion of mine for over forty years. I have read and reviewed countless reading curricula; my shelves are packed with books at home. In 1999, I co-authored a book with my daughter Susan Bauer, entitled The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (revised edition, Norton, 2016).