Posted weekly on Tuesdays, Reading Roots features a variety of book bloggers talking about their early reading influences and experiences, letting us catch a glimpse of the “roots” that each person has built upon in forming their identity as “a reader”.
Today, I’m interviewing Amy from My Friend Amy. Let’s explore her reading roots!
What is your earliest memory involving books or reading? How were books, reading, and literacy approached in your childhood home? Were your parents or other family members “readers”?
I honestly can’t remember the first time I was read to or that I handled a book. Books were always around me growing up, and my mom read to my brother, sister, and me from the time we were little. So I do remember my world being merged with these imaginary worlds early on…the BFG, Little House on the Prairie, Narnia, and more. Everyone in my family is an avid reader of fiction, except for my dad who reads a fair amount of nonfiction. My mom went to school to become a reading specialist when I was in elementary school, so it’s safe to say books were always well loved in our home.
Did you enjoy language arts/English classes as a kid, or were you more of a reluctant reader? When did you first consider yourself “a reader”?
I did, I loved them. I probably considered myself a reader as early as second grade when I became obsessed with Nancy Drew and would “play Nancy Drew” at recess with my friends. In elementary school, my teachers always read to the class as well, and there were several books that it felt like a rite of passage to hear teachers read, since I was the youngest in my family. Where the Red Fern Grows, is one I remember distinctly.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I don’t really have any reading habits that I know of, unless something like not stopping unless I’m at the end of a chapter counts.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I didn’t really have a favorite spot to read, I read everywhere. As for distinct memories–I read a lot of series books, but I do remember when I was little and my parents gave me The Berenstein Bears and the Messy Room for Christmas. It definitely felt like the book came with a message!
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
Oh boy. I read series books like The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley in elementary school, I read a lot of Christian fiction like Janette Oke when I was young as well. In middle school I read some YA like L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries which I LOVED. I also read Fear Street and Christopher Pike. In high school, I started reading classics for fun. I read almost everything by Hermann Hesse, for example! In college, I read textbooks. In my early twenties, I discovered chick lit. I never knew reading could be so much fun and that I could relate so much to the characters. Now, I read a mix of books, but I prefer contemporary fiction. I think my tastes and such have really changed according to how I’m feeling in life.
Bonus Literacy Question: If you have children, how did you encourage them (or how are you encouraging them) to become readers? If you do not have children of your own, what do you think is the most important thing to focus on in order to promote reading in the coming generations?
I think it’s important that everyone realizes that raising a generation of readers depends on all of us. If we care about reading, we need to do our part..volunteer to read at schools, donate money to literacy charities, give books to the children in your lives.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Amy as much as I did! If you haven’t read her blog before, I suggest that you go take a look.
See you next week for a look into the “roots” of another fantastic blogger!