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 Jennifer from Girls Gone Reading. 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 parents are avid readers, and books take over every room in my parents’ home. We frequently went to the book store and the library, and my parents read to us every chance they could. My dad actually taught himself to speak and read English better by reading the classics. Grandpa was a migrant worker, and my dad only spoke Spanish when he started school. He was put in the remedial class and told he was stupid. He instantly decided that he didn’t like that, so he learned from his classmates, teachers, etc. but he also scraped together every penny he had to join a Book of the Month club-Classics based. We still have these books that he read on the bus to learn to read, and he gave me his copy of Emerson as a college graduation present. Emerson is my favorite writer, and the name of one of my dogs.
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 was always my best subject. Besides being big readers, my parents were also in a band, and my dad was a singer-song writer. Because of that, I wrote a song when I was four and my dad recorded it for me. I majored in English in college, and I am now an English teacher by day book blogger by night.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I don’t know if these habits are that unusual, but I always read before I go to sleep. I like to read two books at once, and I get into these genre kicks where I want to read a whole bunch of stuff that is the same. I started these in HS, and I still do them now.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I always read in my bed when I was little. I had this great bunk bed. It was in the shape of a tree, and one corner of it was so isolated that you couldn’t see me from the door, so I felt all alone. I read constantly, but some of the books I remember loving were A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables, and The Secret Garden.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
Oh my…I think that I have been in every phase a lot except for fantasy. I have read some fantasy books, but as a genre it has never held much interest for me. I guess my reading tastes developed by living in a house that had all sorts of books, so we were always jumping from genre to genre. Not getting stuck in one thing helps me not get bored, and have lots of adventures!
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?
We have one daughter, who is a preschooler, so we encourage to read by reading to her constantly; taking her to the book store, lit festivals, and the library lots; and by getting her lots of toys that help her learn to read. She loves her LeapFrog toys like the Tag Reader and her “computer” that help her learn letters and read stories to her.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Jennifer 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!