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 Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness. 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 think my earliest memory involving books or reading is going to our public library and just wandering the stacks. My mom has always been a reader, so she took us to the library a lot and encouraged us to check out as many books as we could carry – sometimes even more! I’ve always loved to read, and my parents really encouraged it (even if my dad is not much of a reader himself).
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 don’t know if I’ve ever not thought of myself as a reader. From as early as I can remember, I’ve been one of those kids that reads. I’ve always enjoyed English classes, but in elementary and middle school I actually liked math better. The concreteness of math appealed to me. I loved that there was always an answer.
But then in eighth grade, everything changed. I got to the point in math where there wasn’t always a single right answer, which frustrated me. At the same time, I had an amazingly supportive English teacher who helped me start to love the ambiguity of literature and reading, and that’s when English became my favorite class to be in.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I’ve always been a fast reader, so when I was younger I would pick out library books based on how fat they were – the thicker, the better – so I wouldn’t run out of things to read before we went back to the library again. That’s why I read Little Women when I was about nine, and devoured Michael Crichton and big epic fantasy books when I was in middle school.
It’s sad to say, but I think since I started blogging I’ve gotten reluctant to read chunksters – they take so much time, and I worry about not having things to blog about while I’m finishing up a big book. I’d really like to change that.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I don’t remember having a favorite spot to read when I was little. We used to go to out cabin every weekend, so I spent a lot of time reading sitting on the boat or down at the beach.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
They’ve definitely changed. I used to read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, like I said, because they were such big books. I really don’t read a lot of those genres anymore. I also used to read things like Babysitter’s Club, Boxcar Children, and Little House on the Prairie, which I don’t read now either. I think I used to read a lot more series, but don’t as much anymore. Other than Harry Potter, the last giant series I read were the Amelia Peabody mysteries.
I’m not sure when the transition from those books to what I read now happened – probably college, where I started to read more classics, Literature (with a capital L), and nonfiction.
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 think it’s important to help kids find books that they love, not force them to read the things we think they should love. I know schools want kids to read great books and classics, but I think forcing someone to read The Great Gatsby or The Crucible (which are both great, but not for everyone) can sometimes have a negative effect – making people just dislike reading in general. I wish more kids had flexible reading time to pick things they want, and that there were more people that could give great recommendations to them to find books they love.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Kim 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!