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 Amanda from Dead White Guys. 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 honestly can’t pinpoint the first memory I have of books or reading. It seems to me like I was always reading, no matter what was around. Cereal boxes. Newspapers. The other members of my immediate family were not- and are not- readers, but I do recall instances of my grandpa bringing boxes of old books for us to “color in.” I just read them instead.
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”?
Heck yes, I loved language arts and English- I was good at it! I ended up being sort of a speed reader, and coupling that with a good memory made my teachers think I was some sort of super-genius. I was fine with letting them think that. I first considered myself a reader in 3rd grade when we started some school-wide reading contest that I won. I realized then that reading was sort of “my thing.”
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
When I was young I tended to read when it was sort of rude, and I did it on purpose. Like at the dinner table, or when visiting family members that I didn’t like. I realized I didn’t have to talk to people if I was reading. I still do that in public. Other people do it, too- they just use their Blackberry and pretend to be texting.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
My favorite spot to read as a kid was always in a tree. I had a reading tree that had one big, “L” shaped branch that I covered in pillows and sat on for hours. I distinctly remember reading THE ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS because it was the first time I ever felt sorry for someone in a book. It was the first book that ever made me sad.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
Well, I don’t read THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB nearly as often, if you call that development. That’s really the only phase I ever went through. In sixth grade, our English class read TALE OF TWO CITIES, and that was sort of my gateway drug. After that, I stuck with the classics and have ever since- though there is the occasional foray into modern lit that usually leaves me upset and wanting to drink.
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?
Well, I don’t know if this counts but I am expecting twins in April and they will be our first children. I plan on encouraging them to become readers by reading to them every day from day one- ok, maybe day like 14. I also think the fact that I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV or play video games that often helped me to become a reader and developed my imagination, so I’ll be repeating that when my kids are born. They’ll hear a lot of “GO OUTSIDE! TAKE A BOOK! DON’T COME BACK ‘TIL IT’S DARK!”
I hope you enjoyed learning about Amanda as much as I did! If you haven’t read her blog before, I suggest that you go take a look. Oh, and make sure that you go check out her adorable new twins, with equally adorable literary names! Seriously, girl. You’re making me all jealous.
See you next week for a look into the “roots” of another fantastic blogger!