In To Kill a Mockingbird, who taught Scout how to read and write?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    The precocious Jean Louise "Scout" Finch was far ahead all of the other first graders at the Maycomb school in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird. She could already read and write--cursive, even--but her teacher, Miss Caroline, showed no appreciation for these skills. Atticus had taught her to read, but according to Atticus, he had taught her all wrong.

I never deliberately learned to read... reading was something that just came to me... I could not remember when the lines above Atticus' moving finger separated into words.

    The Finch's faithful maid and surrogate mother, Calpurnia, was responsible for teaching Scout to write cursive, another fault that Miss Caroline said should not be taught "until you're in the third grade."

    Calpurnia was to blame for this... She would set me a writing task by scrawling the alphabet firmly across the top of a tablet, then copying out a chapter of the Bible beneath. If I reproduced her penmanship satisfactorily, she rewarded me...

    When Scout complained to Atticus about Miss Caroline's accusations and told him she didn't want to return to the first grade, he suggested a compromise:

"If you'll concede the necessity of going to school, we'll go on reading every night just as we always have. 

Atticus also decided it should be their little secret, since he was afraid Miss Caroline would "get after me, and I wouldn't want her after me."

slytherin | Student

Atticus taught her how to read and Calpurnia taught her how to write.

zumba96 | Student

In To Kill a Mockingbird, we learn that her dad, Atticus Finch, was the one who taught her to read. However, we also learn that Calpurnia was the one who taught her to write. Scout was further than other children in her classroom and her teacher told her this was not ok. Because of this Scout felt bad but she should not have since this was an accomplishment. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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