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”.
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 have pretty vivid memories of going to the library as a child and checking out picture books. It was always a really fun treat when my mom took us there. Reading was always just as important in our lives as sleep. In fact, during the summers when we were grade school age, my mom liked to have us rest in the afternoon (when it was too hot to play outside) and our choices were either to take a nap or read for an hour. I almost always picked reading.
Both my mom and dad are pretty avid readers. When I was a kid, my mom always had her nose in a romance novel and my dad always had some kind of book on the Old West or fly fishing on his nightstand.
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 did enjoy English classes as a kid, but I enjoyed silent reading time more. I always did well in English classes–reading was easy for me and I had high comprehension scores. I did tend to get frustrated later on when we were expected to analyze the sybolism of a literary work and try to uncover what the author was *really* saying because I just wanted to enjoy the story for what it was. I became a bit more open to that kind of analysis in college–it’s kind of interesting to think about.
I think I considered myself a reader from the moment I first started reading. For as long as I can remember, I have always liked to have reading material around me–books, magazines, random junk mail, websites… It didn’t really matter as long as I was reading.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I guess you could call my ability to block out everything around me while reading an interesting habit. I can crawl into my book so completely that someone could come over and start talking to me and I might not even notice. My husband sometimes has to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention when I’m reading. When I was growing up, my mom got frustrated with me quite often because of that habit.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I loved reading while lying on my bed. I had a bookcase headboard as a kid, so it only made sense to read there. It remains my favorite place to read, though I don’t have a bookcase headboard anymore.
Wow, I can think of so many books from my childhood. I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books–I loved trying to imagine living in that time and place. I also was a huge fan of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. What a fun and fantastic world to escape to in the pages! I remember I did a book project in 4th grade where I painted a picture of the cover of *Prince Caspian*. And then in 5th grade I went through a horse phase and read every Marguerite Henry book I could get my hands on…
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
I’ve always been a pretty eclectic reader, but some of my favorite genres as a kid (historical fiction, fantasy, mystery) continue to be my favorites even now. In high school I went through a mystery/thriller phase where I read a bunch of John Grisham and Tom Clancy, and I also went through a science fiction phase where I read a bunch of Star Wars sequels and Michael Crichton books like *The Andromeda Strain* and *Sphere*.
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 read to them, a lot. When they were babies we started a tradition of reading every night before bedtime (and naps) and anytime before then when they ask. My son just started Kindergarten and has been reading since last spring, and my three and a half year old daughter is just starting to sound out words (yay!). I like to take special trips to the library and used bookstore with them, where they get to pick whatever books they want (within reason–I don’t want to be buried by their giant piles of books!). They have their own bookcase for their own books, and I like to go through the books and rotate out the ones they’ve grown out of and bring in new books on a regular basis.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Katy 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!