Reading Roots: Wallace from Unputdownables

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 Wallace from Unputdownables. 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 came from a reading mother, who had been a special education teacher before I was born. We never went anywhere without books (it was always part of our packing list for trips) and some of my earliest memories are of trips to our local library when I was very, very small (as in five and under). As I got older, we made trips to our local (and my favorite) book store called The Tattered Cover (in Denver, Colorado), which was a heaven for book lovers. Books were the only thing that we were allowed to have as much of as we wanted (as long as we read them), so I think that’s why they became so popular to the four children in my family!

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 luuuuuuurved Language Arts! It was the only subject I completely excelled at without trying. I was the kid who couldn’t wait for the summer reading list to come out and always had opinions about which books were on it, haha!

Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?

Yes… I had to read EVERYTHING that I saw that was in print (i.e. signs, graffiti, etc). And then, when I was starting to learn how to spell, I had to write out all the words I saw, using my finger as a pen and the air as
paper, to practice. I still do that (yikes!) when I see a new word or am in a foreign country. Super weird, and probably OCD, I know. 🙂

Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?

I didn’t have a favorite spot to read, I just read everywhere. I particularly loved reading at school because it felt like such a party to get to take a break from learning and have reading time!

I absolutely adored the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald. My third grade teacher introduced us to it, and I’m shocked at how many people never have read it. I also loved Little Women, The Boxcar Children, The Babysitter’s Club, Mandy (another amazing one by Julie Edwards (aka Julie Andrews– Mary Poppins) that I’m surprised people don’t know about), and Cheaper by the Dozen (the old fashioned book). Also, I pretty much devoured Judy Blume as I got a little older.

How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?

Honestly, I’ve always been a bit of an eclectic reader. I never went through a phase where I read only one genre. I guess that says something about my personality… I would get too bored to read only one thing

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, but have spent my adult life working with them as a teacher. In general, I think getting the coming generations interested in reading is the first step. I think parents and educators should be less worried about what the kids are reading than whether or not they are reading. Once you have them hooked on reading by supplying them with things that interest them, you can introduce works that are timeless and educational as well.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Wallace 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!

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