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 Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?. 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”?
Unfortunately, I don’t remember my parents reading to me, though I’m sure they did. I remember the Scholastic book fairs, and wanting way more books than my parents were willing to buy, and how I had to whittle my wish list down (though, if I remember correctly, my parents were quite generous with how many books they bought for me). Some books/authors I remember, though I unfortunately have very little recollection of reading them, include: R.L. Stein and the Goosebumps books, The Babysitters Club books (I even created a little song with a friend when we created our own babysitting club), the Boxcar Children books, Nancy Drew, and The Hardy Boys. My grandmother bought me a beautiful copy of Black Beauty, but I loved the movie so much that I really had no desire to read the book.
The first books that I distinctly remember reading was The Sweet Valley High series. I was 13 years old and ended up at a garage sale with my sister-in-law, and someone was selling the whole series, minus just a few books. There was close to 100 books, and my sister-in-law bought them for me. I devoured those books.
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 always loved reading, and I particularly loved English class. I remember in grade school that we’d often have to read out loud particular passages in class. I always volunteered to read because I was a bit smug that I rarely stumbled over a word. Words have just always made sense to me, so reading, pronunciation, and spelling have seemed always second nature, nothing I ever had to struggle with.
It was from The Sweet Valley High books that I really think I became a reader. I didn’t seek out many books; instead, I read what we had at home, which included The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy and John Grisham. My mom liked John Grisham and Tom Clancy, so that’s what I was inclined to read, since it was around. Though I never did read The Hunt for Red October. I think the book was used when my mom bought it, so my aversion to used books was rearing its head at a young age!
You know, there was a book of rhymes that I remember reading at a fairly young age. I read it so much that I had a favorite poem that I still remember:
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair
So Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
The only strange reading habit I’ve ever had is to read the end before I actually get there. I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember, and while I broke the habit not too long ago, I’ve recently fallen off the wagon again.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
Most of the time I just read on my bed, but at some point I bought myself a blue bean bag chair with my babysitting money, and I spent a lot of time reading there. I had to ride the city bus to and from school from the time I entered junior high, so I made it a habit to not only have a book with me at all times, but to read while I walked to and from the bus.
There aren’t any books I distinctly remember from my childhood other than the ones I previously told you about.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
I think my tastes have developed as most people’s tastes develop: they’ve become more refined. While I read a lot when I was younger, I don’t remember a lot of what I read. I mostly read what was assigned at school, what friends recommended, and what we had at home. Now I’m a bit more picky, though it’s hard when you’re in the blogging world and there’s always great recommendations. Unless reading is your super power (it is definitely not MY super power), then you couldn’t possibly get to all the books that look awesome.
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?
Hmm…I haven’t really thought about this, but the first thing that comes to mind is parents encouraging their kids to read. I think avid readers become avid readers with or without encouragement (eventually), but it’s the reluctant readers that I worry about. I think it takes giving kids good, fun books, so that even if they’re never an avid reader, they know that reading can be fun. Maybe they end up reading a book a year or a book a month as an adult, but at least it’s on their radar. If not parents, then teachers and relatives and anyone else the kid comes in contact with. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends…any of us could be that person that makes a difference in a child’s reading life.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Trish 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!