Love of Reading

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Yesterday we sent our oldest off to kindergarten. And no worries: we didn’t cry, even though the principal had Kleenex and cookies ready for tearful parents. Our five-year-old waved goodbye happily and so did we. Such a great milestone! He’s off to a big school to have fun learning and reading.

When we met with his teacher the day before so he could show off his mad reading skills, I really appreciated what she told me, pointing out the take-home books they use for reading practice:

“He can take home the next in the series whenever he’s ready, whether every day or once a week. The important thing is to make reading enjoyable. If he doesn’t want to read one night, let it go and try again later. Don’t pressure him to get to the next book. Let him go at his own pace.”

Hooray! A teacher after my own heart. I’ve never been too concerned about how fast he learns to read, only that he comes to love it.

some of the books/series/authors I credit for my love of reading

I remember when I first consciously realized how much reading meant to me. I was probably seven or eight and we were camping in my family’s trailer and I’d forgotten to bring any books with me. And I was miserable without them. Every night of that camping trip I vowed to myself that I would never ever go on vacation without a book again.

That still happens to me once in a while as an adult. If I find myself in any kind of waiting room without a book in my purse, that same misery my seven-or-eight-year-old self felt washes over me again and I get all pouty, thinking, “Sure they’ve got all these magazines, but I don’t want a magazine! I want my book!” And I think of it with longing, scheming ways to time warp back an hour and grab the book before leaving the house.

One of the most rewarding things as a teacher is when a student comes up to me at the end of a semester and says, “I just wanted to tell you that you inspired me to start reading for fun again.” These are adults, and many of them haven’t read a book for fun since they were kids. But they light up and tell me how great it feels to love reading now.

I even appreciate it when they tell me that Twilight gets the credit for their reading recovery and that it was the first book they’d read as an adult and since then they’ve been insatiable readers. Hooray for that!

 

 

What’s your story? How did a love of reading find you? What kinds of books do you absolutely adore and can’t live without?

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10 responses »

  1. I distinctly remember my elementary school library going under construction and being really disappointed that I couldn’t spend my recesses there reading anymore. But it was worth the wait when it reopened. There was a lot more space for books and children reading books!

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  2. I learned how to read the summer before kindergarten, I think, mostly because my brother and sister always had their nose in a book and wouldn’t ever play with me. I was bored, so I’d “read” and go bother them for help whenever I got stuck.

    My parents also took us to the library at least every other week for FHE. My favorite book was about a cat named Jenny. Looking back, I don’t think anyone else ever read that book because I’d check it out one week, bring it back, and then check it out again the next time.

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    • Yeah, we thought it was pretty funny, too. Now I’m anxiously waiting for the next milestone: when preschool starts for Kid2 in September. Without his brother to play with him, he’s driving me nuts. 😉

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  3. I can’t remember when I first began to love reading, only that as far back as I can remember I was a “bookworm”. I credit my parents with this. My dad always has had a stack of Sci-Fi books next to his side of the bed and Mom has at least one book on her nightstand. Normally the same book for a very, very long time (I’m talking years) but, hey, she has a lot of kids. So books were just a part of life and sleeping habits. Reading was an especially awesome activity for me because I have had insomnia since I was a baby. Really. Reading late into the night by the faint glow of the bathroom light is probably what killed my eyes but it was worth it.

    I am in the same boat as you and one of my requirements when I buy a new purse is that it can hold at least two books. I always take three or four on road trips and plane rides, so that I have options. I hate being without a book. It is torture!

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  4. Our son did minimal reading throughout his time in elementary, middle school and high school. In college he found a love of reading. What kept me going through the long drought was a comment from the school librarian – he has to find the love himself; if you try to impose it on him, he will never find it. He was a hold-out in a book loving family but, in the end, he arrived.

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    • I had no idea he was like that. Thanks for sharing. I “lost” mine for a little while in high school (the required readings did me in) but recovered it after my first year of college and suddenly began asking my parents for stacks of recommendations off their bookshelves. They were thrilled I’d come around, and I was grateful they’d never pushed me. Hooray for that wise comment from your school librarian! I think that’s very true.

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