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 Jason from FNORDinc. Let’s explore his 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”?
when we came to your time from the future, .. erm.. nevermind.
My family pretty much lived for the public library. when i was younger my mom and dad had to force a maximum book limit on me and my siblings. we would check out such a large number of books that keeping track of them all for return was becoming far too difficult. with 4 kids and two adults, we could easily leave with 40+ books a week (varying length and reading levels).
This max book limit actually increased the amount of reading we did as children. it was always a horrible possibility that we might run out of books before the next trip to the library. as such, we read larger and larger books to try and “cheat the system”.
bigger books means more reading and more books.. eventually we figured out that the school library had no such restrictions as mom and dad were never there with us!
hooray for loop holes!
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”?
it was all about the little golden books. props to the gold tape bound reader books. they fascinated me, their illustrations and colors, thick cardboard stock covers.. they were fantastic. they helped push me as a reader pre-kindergarten even if i didnt know my full alphabet yet, i still enjoyed them like. had good teachers and reader parents, becoming an avid reader was inevitable.
i was far from being a reluctant reader, though i was never a fan of language classes in school. until i got into jr high/high school, i really couldnt care less. there was too much structure and too many people telling me what i should like and do. i already had a nice solid basis for my love of reading.. i didnt want anyone cracking a whip over me. it was my deal and none of their business.
i understood grammar, but hated to abide by the rules, so that was a problematic secondary level of conflict.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
beside the “consume everything in sight” habit?
I have always been very picky about the clean books and lack of disrepair. this might come from the use of the library and the utter dislike for people who dog-ear pages in books they dont own.
besides that, i got nothin for ya.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
in elementary school, we would have a yearly “read-a-thon”. kids who read a predetermine d number of pages were invited to the school to spend the night. you would camp out and read all night with your friends, eat pizza that the school would order in, end the night with junk food and a movie. wake up in he morning and read until pancakes were ready.
pick a spot and i would plant my ass.
as i was always a reader, this was a “sport” i could excel at. as such, i read everywehre i went. no specific place was favored over another. possible exception may be a blanket on the grass when the sun was out.
favorite books… do i have to choose? i guess i would have to say William Sleator books “House of Stairs” and “Singularity”. i also have fond memories of a historical book “Ghengis Khan and the Mongol Horde” which read like a novel but was straight historicity.
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 stephen king and anne rice phase i wish i could take time back from. they are not bad authors, but i think i dedicated far too many hours to them. was blinded by an addiction you could say.
besides that my tastes havent changed that much. i have always been an all over the map reader. no specific genre, no specific style.
I grew up reading the baby sitters club series because my sister had it and i would run out of books to read. i would also pillage my dads books, ending up reading “all quiet on the western front” and “Farenheit 451” at 11 or so.
(thanks dad,… uhm, thanks sis?.. i think)
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 don’t have kids, but highly recommend a subscription to HIGHLIGHTS magazine.. cant go wrong with it.. as far as simple tools to garner interest in reading, its tops. plus, where else are you going to get your dose of Goofus and Gallant?
in general, people should remember that not every book sis for every person. reading is an activity that needs to be catered to each individual. this is especially the case for kids. some kids are nancy drew or hardy boys.. sweet valley high and narnia… some are captain underpants or ramona quimby.
teachers and parents should ensure they are well armed with an arsenal of books and genres. if you can fill the niche, you can find a reader.
make reading an event. trips to the bookstore, library, book fairs, etc..
i dunno, i have lots of ideas, all of which will be incorporated when i pass viral genetic material to my wife and she re-enacts scenes from Aliens.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Jason as much as I did! If you haven’t read his blog before, I suggest that you go take a look.
See you next week for a look into the “roots” of another fantastic blogger!