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 Christina from Chrisbookarama. 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 remember my brothers and I being in a Book-of-the-Month club. Every month we’d get a box of picture books. (Must be where my love of getting books in the mail came from.) My mom would read them to us until we could read them ourselves. I read them over and over. My Dad wasn’t a reader but my Mom was never without a book in her hand. I wanted to read all the books she did. When I got older, I challenged myself to read faster than she could. (I never told her that!)
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 usually loved the books I read in school: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders. I didn’t enjoy analyzing them to death and hated reading aloud. I could never read with the class. I always read ahead when it was my turn, I never knew where we were! I’d be caught for not paying attention.
I think I thought of myself as a real reader after my parents bought me Little Women for Christmas. That was my first ‘grown-up’ book. I had arrived.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
Not really, except that I had the ability to completely tune out all noise around me while I read. I had to noisy brothers so that was a challenge. It’s an ability I still have.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
My room was the best place because no one interrupted me in there and I could rock out to The Bangles while I read. There was one other place though. On sunny days I liked to sit on my front porch and bake in the sun as I read. No one worried about UV rays then. It was so nice to feel the sun on me while I read.
I mentioned Little Women, as it was my first ‘real’ book I will always remember it. I also remember getting very involved in the Secret of NIMH. I never would have thought I’d feel sympathy for a bunch of rats.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
Wow, there are too many phases to name! There was the Sweet Valley High kick, the Victoria Holt phase, and then Stephen King kept me up at night for awhile. My mom had tons of Harlequin romances and I tore through them. When I discovered that my Dad had his school books on the bookshelf, I took them for myself. That’s when I first read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I fell in love with the classics then and continue to love them still.
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?
It’s not easy these days to get kids reading with all the other distractions. I keep telling my daughter how I had 3 TV channels growing up (one a snowy French channel) and we had TO GET UP to change the channel. I’m sure she believes we were all deprived back then. I hope I’m a good example to her with my reading habits. I also provide plenty of books that I know she’d like. She’s into fashion and ‘fact’ books also graphic novels. I don’t think people should worry about the quality of the books, as long as kids get what they like they will read.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Christina 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!