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 Heather from Geeky Reads. 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”?
Both of my parents are big readers, so I was always used to seeing them reading around the house. I remember them reading us books when my brother and I were little.
When I was 7 or 8 a new library branch was built not too far from our house, and I was totally amazed at how big it was and how many books were inside the first time I stepped inside it. I was so impressed! We spent a lot of time there as a family, checking out books and videos. I even remember participating in their summer reading program.
When my parents told my brother and I that we were moving to a new city, one of the selling points was that the new house was close enough to a library branch that I’d be able to ride my bike there by myself whenever I wanted. I was pretty excited about 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 was definitely a reluctant reader til grade three. In grades one and two I had a really hard time reading, of making sense of all the letters on the page. It wasn’t til grade three that things “clicked”, and everything started to make sense. When you struggle with something like that, it’s not enjoyable, but when I started to get the hang of it, I was definitely hooked!
Grade three was definitely the turning point for me in terms of reading. I discovered The Babysitter’s Club books, and read them as fast as I could get them. A few years later, my mom would “pay” me to babysit my brother with books. I remember being able to go with her to the bookstore to pick out a new book.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I had/have a hard time concentrating on reading when there’s other things going on around me. I need calm and silence to be able to read. I get distracted by the TV, radio, people talking, etc. I usually need to be by myself. If there’s other things going on around me I just don’t remember what I’ve read.
When I was little I used to be really concerned about keeping my books in new condition. I was so worried about bending the cover, or accidentally ripping a page. I was VERY careful with my books.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
Probably my bed, because it was in my room, and generally quiet.
I read a lot of The Babysitter’s Club, Roald Dahl books, The Saddle Club, The Thoroughbred Series, Goosebumps, and Fear Street. I also picked up whatever I found at the library that I thought looked interesting.
In the space of a year or two I became a really good reader (I read The Hobbit in grade four.) So I read a lot of books that were intended for an older reader. I loved the detailed descriptions and the more complicated plot lines that were in the books meant for older kids.
I remember teachers reading books to us in class, everything from The Magic School Bus to Tiger Eyes.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
I almost feel like I’m re-living my teen years. Because I became such a good reader, I kind of skipped over the usual YA books, and went straight for adult books. Now that I’m (mostly) an adult, I’m reading a lot of YA books.
In terms of genres, I still like mostly the same things. I’m intrigued by horror and paranormal (I still like scaring myself), mystery, fantasy, and classics.
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?
Because I know how frustrating it is to not be able to read well, I think the biggest part is having books available that appeal to reluctant readers. If reading is something that comes easy to you, you’re more likely to have an easier time getting through a book that isn’t as interesting to you. But when every sentence is a struggle, you’re only going to stick with it if it’s something that you really want to read.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Heather 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!