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 Jen from The Introverted Reader. 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 can’t say that I have one “earliest memory.” I just always remember books and reading being a huge part of my life. My parents never pushed anything on us. They are both still readers, and I would say that is what shaped us into readers more than anything else. I’m sure they read to us as well, but what I really remember is seeing them both reading. My mom has always loved her romantic books and my dad loves his westerns. I remember that they subscribed us to Weekly Reader (anyone else remember that?), so we got some books that way, and I remember being so excited to choose books through the Scholastic book order forms we got at school. I would pore over ever word of that order form, and I would usually get a few books from it. The biggest thing is that my mom took us to the library every Friday to stock up on books. We would stay in there forever choosing enough books to get us through the upcoming week.
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’ve always thought of myself as a reader. I loved English classes and story time in elementary school. Once I got older, I did start chafing against the books I had to read. I am way too contrary by nature for that to work for me. Luckily, it didn’t turn me off reading. I read what I had to and moved on to whatever interested me. I always enjoyed English classes as a rule though. Maybe I was always hoping that we would read a book I did like!
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
When I got lost in a book, I didn’t put it down. I would read it in my room, read it as I walked down the hall to dinner, read once I sat down to eat (until my dad made me put it away) and then read as I walked around to the living room or back to the bedroom. I used to read on car trips too, but I have developed motion sickness over the years and that’s out of the question now. I also liked having the peace and quiet of the house all to myself to read in. So I would stay up (in the summertime) until 4 or 4:30, just reading, and then sleep until 12:30, when my mom always called on her lunch break to check on us. I loved it. I don’t think I do any of this any more, although I will very rarely walk around the house with a book that I just can’t bring myself to put down.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
My favorite spot was probably my bedroom late at night. We did take yearly vacations to a little beach here in North Carolina, Emerald Isle, and there is still nothing I love more than sitting on my lounger on the beach, listening to the sounds of the ocean, and reading my book.
I mostly remember L. M. Montgomery’s books from my childhood. I have to admit that I hated Anne of Green Gables the first time I tried to read it. I thought it was boring. For whatever reason, I tried again a few years later and fell in love. I had to read everything that Montgomery ever wrote. There was one little bookstore at the beach that always had a good selection of her books, so choosing new Montgomery books for my collection was a vacation highlight every year.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
Is it bad to say that they haven’t changed all that much? I’ve just always liked a good story, wherever I find it. I’ve always disliked books that make me cry. I’ve always loved fantasy. I have branched out more as I’ve gotten older, but I haven’t left any genres behind. I’m currently trying to read more nonfiction and listen to audiobooks, and I think I’m making good progress on those goals.
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 children, so I can only go on my own experience. I think the biggest thing is for children to see people they respect reading. Read to them when they are young. Expose them to books; get them to the library or the bookstore. I firmly believe that there is a genre for everyone. If they don’t like Harry Potter, ask them to try some nonfiction or something. Eventually they will find what they like. Also, take personalities into account. I’m the kind of person who is just not going to do something that is pushed at me. If my parents had pushed me to read, I wouldn’t have. Be aware of what is going to work with each individual child.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Jen 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!