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 Emily from Emily’s Reading Room. 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”?
My father taught me to read before I went to Kindergarten. (One of the perks of being the oldest is you get that kind of attention. None of my siblings did). Reading was always very important in my home. Some of my earliest memories of reading were of my dad reading Lord of the Rings to us each evening before bed. He loved to read classics with us. We read Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and many others. The first book I ever read by myself was Green Eggs and Ham. All of my family are readers now. I give book recommendations to all my siblings.
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”?
English is the only subject I have never received less than an A in. My favorite classes from elementary school all the way to college were language arts or English related. I think I really started to LOVE reading when I was in first or second grade. In fact, I would read so quickly that my teachers didn’t believe I was reading the books as fast as I said I was. They started making me do book reports on every book I read to make sure I’d read them. The problem was that they hadn’t read many of the books I was reading, so they didn’t know if I was telling the truth or not.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I can’t read more than one book at a time. I have this weird belief that each book requires special attention. Plus, I get the story lines and characters mixed up if I try to read more than one book at a time.
I also used to hide books under my desk and read during math and science. It would drive my teachers crazy! Sometimes I even had my books taken away. Now that I’m older, I’ll get so involved in a book that I’ll forget to eat or shirk my household duties.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I have always read on my bed. On Saturdays I would clean my room and sit on my freshly made bed and read a book. It was heaven. I remember two series from my childhood very distinctly. One was THE LORD OF THE RINGS. My dad read the whole series to me and my brother at nights. It was so much fun to listen to my dad read. I also remember HARRY POTTER. The first book came out when I was in middle school, and I started reading them shortly before the third book came out. I was crazy about those books. I got every single one as soon as they came out starting with THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
I went through a phase where I read fairy tale re-tellings. I started with THE GOOSE GIRL and just couldn’t get enough of the genre. I read works by Jessica Day George, Robin McKinley, Gail Carson Levine, and Shannon Hale. I still love those stories, but right now I’m currently in a dystopic phase. I love THE HUNGER GAMES and I am really enjoying the new things coming out in that genre.
Honestly, I don’t know that my reading tastes have changed much since childhood. I still love fantasy and science fiction. And I’ve never liked vampires.
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 had my first child in March of this year. I’ve just started reading to her, because she knows my voice. She doesn’t understand what I’m reading, obviously, but I want to her to know that book are important to me. Now that she’s getting a little older, while I’m reading to her she will just stare at me. It’s really cute. I think the most important thing that can be done to raise a literate generation is to start reading early and often.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Emily 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!