How did you become a reader?

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How did you become a reader?

Editado: Ene 21, 3:37pm

Over in the Readers over Sixty group the question was asked: how did you learn to read?

That got me thinking of a related questions: how did you become a reader?

Were you always a reader or was there some moment, person, or book that flipped the switch for you?

Editado: Ene 21, 3:40pm

I wanted to read Highlights Children's magazine. Remember teaching myself words with Bob Books.

Edit: Also remember being extremely pleased with myself when I realized since I could spell Bob and Cat I could also spell Bobcat. A whole six letters.

Editado: Ene 21, 4:25pm

I knew my letters and could read signs but hadn't really become a reader.

Then my wonderful, dear sister read the book Heidi out loud to me. I was about five, she would have been seven.

Then she refused to read it to me again, ever.

So I had no other choice but to do it myself.

Ene 21, 4:24pm

I don't remember becoming a reader at all. I mean, I'm 62. It was a long time ago :)

I know my parents read to me and my siblings. I had lots of books of my own (still have some of them!) and books were regular Christmas and birthday gifts.

I remember getting hooked on SF by a grade 4 teacher who read us Rivets and Sprockets in class; I remember next-to-nothing about the book itself.

I remember going to the public and school libraries and taking out as many books as I could, but I was already a reader by then.

Editado: Ene 22, 4:54pm

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Editado: Ene 21, 11:00pm

Sam. Sit Sam. Sam sits.

First five words I learned to read in first grade, about 45 years ago. I remember the pictures of the dog too.

Ene 22, 12:10am

I started school in 1960 at only 5 years of age in 1st grade (no kindergarten back then in my community) because my mother had inadvertently taught me to read from the Bible. Every single day she read a story from the Bible and pointed to the words as she was reading. By the 5th time of "In the beginning" I knew the words from sight. When in 1st grade the teacher was just amazed that I could read and my only stumbling block that year was the word "quack", nothing from the Bible to associate that word with! Both of my boys learned reading from phonics and they are both excellent readers, but poor spellers. My readers had the characters Alice, Jerry, and Jip, the dog!

Ene 22, 1:41am

My maternal grandfather taught me my letters when I was three or four and I've been a reader since. I cannot remember how I started reading books, that's something you just do. I remember loving Tintin when I was five, sitting on my grandparents' floor and trying to make sense of the story of the pharao's cigars and being scared by mummies and pyramids. Like many children, I had no real sense for 'appropriate reading' so I gladly wolfed down Nordhoff & Hall's Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy when I was eight, with rapes, murder, drinking and all.

Ene 22, 8:42am

I love all of these stories!

I remember my father teaching me to sound out words. The first book I read on my own was Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, although later my father told me he was pretty sure I had just memorized it.

I think what made me a lifelong reader, though, was reading every night with my mom. We read the Ramona books and many of the Newbery winners. I was also reading on my own at that time, getting lost in books. I think the mix of safety and escapism tied me to books.

Ene 22, 9:14am

Always been a reader. My parents read to me as a very young child, I can remember that much. I've no idea when I started reading enjoyably for myself, but I know I finished the primary school library well before I'd left.

Ene 22, 9:50am

I'm not sure how I became a reader. Loving books has always been there. I think it's in part because I was the firstborn and my parents wanted to do everything "right" and all the experts said books were very very important to a child's development. Plus my parents are readers anyway. Even before I could read for myself I loved being read to. My mom had to get me books on tape, because she just couldn't spend all day every day reading me. Also she struggled with my Fox in Socks-obsessed-phase and was happy to turn that tongue-twister over to a professional. :)

I'm not really sure how I learned to read either. At some point when I was four, I picked up the newspaper and started reading the headlines to my mom. I suspect it had something to do with my obsession with spelling when I was three. I would go around the house asking my mom to spell everything I could see. I think it just clicked that t-a-b-l-e is table whether you're saying it or writing it.

In retrospect, I was just obsessed with words as a small child.

Ene 22, 11:23am

My memory of learning to read is one of the few clear memories I have from my early childhood. Along with my dad bringing me in to watch the Apollo moonshot, and the day my folks put in new kitchen cabinets and I got to build a fort from the empty cardboard boxes.

The day I learned to read, though, I was in the sitting room with my mother, who was reading me a story. A boy and his dog were taking a walk. Mom says I had been interrupting and asking about the words on the page for a while before that, but this time, when she turned the page, I read the next line in the story before she could. I remember two things very clearly about that moment. One, the feeling of wonder that the words made sense, that I could read them. And two, the sound of my mom's happy laugh.

Those two things-- the sense of wonder and the laughter, have stayed inextricably entwined for me my entire life, and probably doomed me to be forever happiest around books.

Ene 22, 12:12pm

As a small child, I was at home every day, except for church on Sundays, because my mom did not drive. She bought some flash cards at a dime store and worked with me on learning the words (1 syllable, like put, take, run, walk). I was about 4 years old and I memorized the pictures on the front of the cards, so she turned them over and I had to figure out the word. But just looking at the words over and over and memorizing how they looked, helped me learn to read. When I was 5, I was looking at a story book and all of a sudden, the words made sense and I could read them.

Ene 22, 12:26pm

It seems to me I have always read, in the same way that I have always talked. My mother told me that I was reading nursery rhymes before the age of 2, but that could just be maternal pride. But, there is a photo of me aged 3 with my nose stuck in a book and I remember visiting the library before I was 4. Oh dear! I sound so precocious 🤣

Ene 22, 1:13pm

My grandmother and my aunt both taught first grade but I'm pretty sure it was my big sister who taught me to read. She was 6 when I was born and would come home every day from school and practice her reading to me. She "taught" me a lot of the other subjects as well.

When I started pre-school at 3 we used the Dick & Jane books but by 1st grade the curriculum was both phonics and sight words. We were encouraged to "sound out" any words we stumbled over.

I'm interested in getting involved in ESL and adult literacy but I'm not sure if the learning styles for children would also work with adults.

Ene 22, 1:25pm

I don't remember learning to read, but my dad says I was three. My family are devout library visitors; we went as a family every Wednesday night and I do remember crying over the rule that i could only take out as many books as I could carry. I was forced to leave some behind every time :)

Now if only learning math had come as easily...

Editado: Ene 22, 2:32pm

>14 Vorobyey: It was rather the same for me. I have no memories of not knowing how to read, and I do have a few memories from around 3 years old or so. According to multiple members of my family, no one taught me how to read. There were just books in the house, occasionally someone would read to me, and I watched a lot of Sesame Street. My mother says that she found out I could read one day when she caught me reading out loud to myself from a random instruction manual I had discovered. She used to think I was only looking at the pictures, and was also surprised to find out I could talk. Apparently, I was just choosing not to (they say I communicated by pointing at things.) After it came out that I could both read and talk, most of my family were disinclined to read to me, since I could do it myself. This I do remember, and I found that more than a little annoying, since, obviously, I was letting them read to me because I enjoyed it. They even hid one of my favorite books once so I would stop bothering them to read it (I think they preferred it when I just pointed all the time.) My dad was the only exception; he was always willing and was great at voices.

Reading was how I learned about the world, so I was always reading the science books in the house, but I didn't become a capital-R Reader until high school when I met some Reader friends who shared their boundless enthusiasm for literature with me. School, and particularly the required reading of depressing novels had very solidly turned me away from fiction until I was a teenager. I am forever indebted to my high school friends for correcting that and ever since I have been paying it forward whenever I have the opportunity.

Ene 22, 2:55pm

I learned to read between 3 and 4 years old. I was inpatient waiting for one of my parents to be able to sit down and read to me so I taught myself. When I was 3, I had my favorite stories memorized and would recite them as my parents turned pages but I certainly wasn't reading the words on the page. That year, 1985, 2 important things happened: my sister was born, meaning less time for someone to read to me and Teddy Ruxpin was the hot toy for Christmas. My parents got me one and I started following along in the books as Teddy recited stories to me. Since Teddy wouldn't stop to tell me what a word was, I started figuring them out by site and sound. My parents were a little disconcerted when I started reading the cereal boxes at the breakfast table.

I really became a READER at 11 when The Giver came out. It was the first book I ever choose 100% on my own (from the school library without any adults hurrying me along) and the first speculative fiction I'd ever read (my reading options to that point being pretty basic and grocery store purchase driven- so many Goosebumps). Reading books had always been fun and informative but it blew my mind that they could be so creative and thought-provoking. Soon after, I read Fahrenheit 451 and I was done for. They are still my 2 most cherished reading experiences and Fahrenheit 451 is still my favorite book after 27ish years.

The final piece of becoming a real, true reader came at 13 when a 20-something book store clerk told my distracted mother that, yes, The Valley of Horses was appropriate for me. I wanted it because it looked like a book about a woman living with horses which sounded like peak life goals to me. I had no idea I was in for a sex romp through prehistoric Europe! Ultimately, I have accepted that this series of books is trash but it's trash I still have the warmest feelings about and I can genuinely say that they are probably the reason that I have a degree in Anthropology and Religious Studies and have spent a decent chunk of my life involved in sexual health and birth work.

But it was really the book store clerk looking at a chubby, nerdy kid with a terrible mushroom haircut and an armful of books and saying that yes, this book was exactly appropriate for me. It was like my Golden Ticket into a world of no holds barred reading that has shaped me completely. After that, I never wondered or cared what anyone would think of what I was reading. I read very grown up books in my teens and a lot of teen books in my 20-30s. It's been glorious.

Ene 22, 4:49pm

I enjoyed a happy illiterate childhood in a tiny village without any preschool education. It was in the 50s and 60s. When finally I did have to practice scribbling all the As and Zs - and everything in between, mind you – on a screeching slate, I didn’t care much about that new ability, writing. Reading wasn’t bad though. But the primer was boring and I was a slow learner until I discovered that now I could read all the text bubbles in my comic books. Donald Duck, of course, and the German comics magazine Fix und Foxi.

And then someone gave me a German translation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. That was my breakthrough: The book sucked me into its world. But all too soon the back cover came nearer and nearer, which made me sad that I’d have to leave Tom and Huck and Aunt Polly, and all the others.

My progress hadn’t gone unnoticed and my parents gave me The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on my eighth birthday. It was during the Easter holidays and I devoured the leaves like a caterpillar. When I finished it in the early morning hours of day three my eyes ached. What aught to be white was reddish, and I got a mild rebuke for reading in the night. But from then on books were always in good supply and my eyes would turn red very often ever after.

Ene 22, 5:20pm

Learned to read in first grade (so 6 years old) (standard in the late 80s in Bulgaria (at least in my town) - I think from my class of 20, only 2 people could somewhat read at the start of the school year) - I could not even recognize or write my name before that. A few months into the year, when we had covered all 30 letters, the teacher brought us to the library (no school libraries) and everyone had to check out and read a book every week. Not sure when/how I decided it was fun but before the first term/semester was finished in late January, I was already checking out and reading more than one book per week... Never stopped reading since then - I just kept adding languages to read in.

The library was essentially two separate libraries - the children one and the adults one - with separate registrations and records. If a child needed a book from the other section for school (and it rarely happened as all books from the school lists were in both sections), the librarian was fetching and moving it over - until they transitioned you out ~14 (usually when you start needing non-school editions of books). I had a record in the adult section at 11 or thereabouts although it was supervised for the first year or so (they really did not want to explain to parents why a 11 years old reads an explicit novel...) - I think I ran out of books in the children section about then :)

Bulgarian is a phonetic language so what you read is what you write with a few rules thrown in (the u/o, z/s, v/f and so on pronunciation depends on what is around them so you can say "f" but write "v" in some cases and so on - but when reading these are obvious). Which probably made it a lot easier to get people to start reading somewhat fast.

The system had changed a lot - they learn their ABCs and start reading in kindergarten and pre-school now...

Now... learning to read in English was a different problem altogether - spelling and reading are two very different skills and in a lot of words, not entirely related... :) But by then I was in 5th grade (8th by the time I actually started reading complete books in English) and it was not my first non-native language (the second one was almost phonetic as well so that was the first time I had to deal with the disjointed reading/writing) so all that helped. My first book in English took me more than a month to finish with a few hours every day (part of it was that I really did not have all the vocabulary (so I had to look it up), part of it was that I really had to work on the sentences and figure them out); I can read the same book now in an evening.

Ene 22, 5:51pm

I did not learn to read until after second grade. That summer I walked a mile to the home of a retired school teacher. She taught me to make sounds corresponding to squiggles. I thought she was out of her mind, but she was kind, patient and encouraging. At the end of each lesson she gave me a big cookie to eat as I walked home. It was a long, hot walk. I am 69 now and my written work has been published in at least a dozen countries and four languages - and I still have trouble spelling. No one knew, when I was young, about dyslexia or ADHD. When my son was diagnosed, I learned that not everyone was like us. If not for that teacher, I can't imagine how miserable my life would have been. She, essentially, gave me life!

Editado: Ene 23, 1:00pm

My mother said I've always known how to read, but I guess I actually picked it up at around three years old, a few years before I could speak clearly (delayed due to health issues). We always had books around, including in my crib or alongside a shared bed as we moved from home to home.

Ene 22, 6:13pm

>17 macsbrains: I was an avid Sesame Street viewer, too!

Ene 23, 11:24am

>1 megbmore: My mother was a reader, took all 8 of us to the library weekly, and the summer bookmobile weekly. Cuddled under her arm, I loved Madeline books. Dad sat in the hallway and read adventure stories to us at bedtime, using many different voices. As an independent reader, the series that transported me was the Borrowers. My siblings and I are all still avid readers, sharing loved titles with one another at our Siblings Lunches.

Ene 23, 12:42pm

No specific thing stands out to me as 'making me a reader', but I think a lot of the credit goes to how much I was read to when I was really young. My mom, my dad, my uncle, I still have many memories of them reading to me. I still have some of those first books, in my 'childhood memories' trunk.

My grandpa probably had a lot to do with it too, I can't remember when or how it started but he was the one who had a Highlights subscription for me, as well as a subscription to a Disney-related bookclub (I definitely know the Minnie 'n Me series was a big deal for me!).

In general I think I was kind of just naturally drawn to reading and it was something that was always supported and encouraged. My favorite thing to do was going to the bookstore and my parents and grandparents were happy to take me there any time. My mom ordered me books out of the Scholastic catalog, and always made sure I had enough money to buy books at the school book fairs. Libraries were a very familiar part of my life, especially the school library in elementary school. (I'm just now realizing I still remember the exact layout of those libraries and bookstores, though I'm sure they've changed plenty by now!)

I was never much interested in sci-fi or fantasy, I leaned more to the 'realistic fiction' as they called it then. I enjoyed reading about situations I could see myself in, like riding horses and babysitting (hello, Baby-Sitter's Club!), things I didn't actually do at that age but could easily picture in my head. Which I guess is another reason I so easily became a reader, I've always had a very active imagination. Reading books was never just words on pages to me, I could 100% picture the scenes in my mind, almost like a movie going on in my mind. Sometimes the book-prompted movie in my mind was better than any actual movie!

Ene 23, 12:50pm

I became a reader sitting next to my mother on the couch. She had a BA in English Literature and made sure my sister and I gained the same love of reading that she had. My father was less active with this project, but was a constant reader himself and so was at least always modeling the behavior. When my mother and I would read together, I would get to pick the book. Stop that Ball, Are You My Mother and a large selection of Dr. Suess were among the preferred selections. Sometimes I would ask to read the dictionary, and we would sit and look at words. We had one of those hardcover editions that had small ink drawings to illustrate some of the entries. Those were my favorites. My mother remained an avid reader until dementia made it impossible for her to concentrate on the printed page. We disagreed on a lot of things over the years, but she rarely recommended a book to me that I didn't end up enjoying.

Ene 24, 9:15am

I am 61 years old, and I have no recollection of learning to read. I don't remember my parents reading to me, but my mom took us to the library weekly and we would bring home books. I vividly remember loving our public library, and going directly to the children's section once we walked through the front doors. I did not develop an interest in reading until I was an education major in college. The Children's Literature course intrigued me, and I could not get enough of or stop reading, picture books through young adult novels. This is also when I began my now extensive book collection. I am still teaching, 35 years later, and have the reputation of being the person who has "all of the books for read alouds" if anyone wants to borrow one. My children's book collection now takes up much of two bedrooms in our home, plus a small storage unit a couple miles up the road, since I am teaching remotely from home this year. I had been a Literacy Coach for teachers and students, for 8 years, but decided to go back into the classroom this year; however, due to Covid19 I have not stepped foot in a classroom with children. The best part of the day for me and my 4th grade students on Zoom, is when I read aloud to them, at least twice a day. Much to my surprise, my 91 year old mom, is an avid mystery reader, and apparently has been for years, but I never knew that until I was an adult.

Editado: Ene 24, 9:05pm

I became a reader in 3rd grade. Up to that point I was reading the basic school readers 'Dick and Dora' a popular series here in Australia in the state of South Australia. I don't remember being read to by my parents, Dad being a busy doctor and mum a busy mother of 8 children soon to grow to 10. Dad started reading Grimms Fairy Tales to us when I was 10 is all I can remember. His conversation however was always an education in itself filled with historical quotes etc.
I remember the day clearly. My best friend since 4 yrs old with whom I had spent every spare play moment and every school recess and lunch with til then decided she was going to play with with a couple of other girls. They rocked up all grinning, arms around each others shoulders and announcing their new alliance with carefree abandon. However I was devastated beyond words and couldn't handle it. I stumbled off blindly, stunned, shocked, reeling.
I remember wandering from the school verandah into the open door of the School Library which was always open during recess and lunch and shyly looking up at a bespectacled lady up on a dais next to the door. "What is this place?" I asked nervously wondering if I was allowed in there. "This is the library" she replied rather briskly preoccupied with her library duties no doubt. Looking down over her spectacles at me she waved me rather vaguely over in a direction " Children's books are over there" and went back to her reading. I slowly and hesitantly walked over in the direction she waved in hoping I was getting it right. Looking at my height level I saw what might be the shelf and being too nervous to ask again pulled out the first book that came to my hand. A great big thick red bound cloth volume with a gilded picture inset in the front nearly made me drop it with the weight. I quickly grabbed it with two hands. It looked magnificent! I brought it back over to the librarian who looked quickly at it and said " Oh King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table" by Roger Lancelyn Green. I was immensely relieved she had read the title for me as I had no clue how to read it. I wondered "what now" to myself. "You can sit over there and read" the librarian said pointing to a low table my size just near her dais.. I carefully carried the heavy volume there and sat down.
There was nothing else to do but sit and attempt to read this great volume well beyond my reading level at the time or face my ex best friend out in the school yard with her new best friends! There was no question in my mind. I had found a safe refuge here and even if I sat and pretended to read this book I was safe here and able to grieve and process my feelings in peace and blessed quiet solitude.
I opened the cover to begin and realized I couldn't read any of the words except the and's, at's, the's and any other simple 3 or 4 letter words. I dared not take the book back. This might jeopardize my chances of staying here in this safe place I thought to myself so I looked down and began to read the only words I could in the Shakespearean flavoured prose and look at the beautiful full page colour pictures that came up every now and then. The bell rang and I carefully put the book back on the shelf. The librarian said " You can come in anytime and read". What a blessed relief it was for me to hear those words.
From that point on my every recess and lunch was spent in the School Library attempting to read this great thick volume. I was too nervous to exchange it for another easier book. I didn't know if there were any easier books. I had no idea. And there was no way I could face the schoolyard without a friend. It was amazing but as I tackled the words and missed out the big ones I started to get the gist of the story! The wonderful King Arthur, the sword Excalibur in the stone, Merlin the wizard, the dashing Sir Lancelot, the beautiful Queen Genevieve, the story came to life and I entered the wonderful world of books and stories! I had no idea such a world existed! This world became my refuge and escape where I lived in lands beyond the sea, in beautiful England, land of my mothers ancestors and therefore mine. In worlds where a different kind of morality existed and virtues were extolled in sublime and expressive language. My mind, longed starved for want of nourishing rich literature drew long at the well and like a thirsty deer went daily there longing to drink. This ancient world bespoke to me of better things and a nobler, purer, higher way than I had heretofore known. I was spiritually starving and even King Arthur and his knights lofty Christian ideals was sustenance for my hungry soul. It took me a year I think to read through that book. By the end of it I was reading most of the words and had figured out the phonetic blends by trial and error and grammatical context. I had grown in confidence. No one could ever hurt me again for I had new friends who were always there for me. These friends were trustworthy, reliable and a great solace and comfort in time of troubles. My reading level shot through the roof and suddenly my father with great surprise began to have interesting conversations with me about the stories I was reading and the historical settings. History and the world around me began to open up in front of me as I started to explore through this story my historical heritage.Thus began my great love of reading and books.

Ene 24, 8:04pm

I don't remember not being able to read. I know I was reading when I started first grade. This would have been in 1950, and phonics definitely ruled.

The first "chapter book" I remember reading was Felix Salter's Bambi, when I was in first grade.

My mom was a reader, and I was an only child until I was 11, so "sit over there and read your book" was something that just seemed natural.

My sister, who came along 11 years later, also taught herself to read long before she started school. My brother, 18 months younger (yes!) was a reluctant reader until middle school. My mom had been plying him with typical get-the-boy-to-read books over summer vacation and happened to get him one of the Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars books, and that did the trick. He succumbed to The Family Disease and has been an avid reader since.

With my children, schools had pretty well transitioned to "whole word" teaching. My son started school in 1971 and never did become a competent reader. My daughter started in 1976 and learned easily, but didn't really start to read for pleasure until she was a young adult.

Nature or nurture? Teaching style or learning style? Who knows?

Ene 24, 9:00pm

Hi Tess,
I love the story of how you learned to read. What book of bible stories did she read to you do you remember? Or was it the actual bible? Interested to know. Thanks Gabe ( Pilgrimmum7)

Ene 25, 7:31am

>14 Vorobyey: Same with me! I don't remember exactly when I started reading, but I was already taking books out of the library at 4.

Ene 25, 8:20am

>28 Pilgrimmum_7: Wow--what an amazing story! I feel like it could be a book for young readers.

Editado: Ene 25, 10:39am

Count me in with those who can't remember not being a reader. My mom says while she was pregnant she used to read aloud to me from whatever she was reading, and kept doing it when I was an infant. When I was old enough to sit up and watch she'd follow the words with her finger until I recognized one and two letter words.

My parents also put my books on the bottom shelf of the bookcase so I could reach them, and I'd play with them by taking them off the shelf and putting them back on over and over.

My dad thought I'd just memorized a book, since that's what my older cousin had done, but Mom plopped me in his lap and had me read the newspaper to him. I was 3.

Ene 25, 3:48pm

Like many others here, I don't remember NOT being able to read. My mother always claimed I could read when I was three. I know I was reading on my own before I started kindergarten. Back then, reading wasn't taught until 1st grade ... and because of my birthday, I couldn't start first grade so was relegated to kindergarten. I didn't want to go to kindergarten ... because all they did was color and have someone read TO you. (In my little 5-year-old brain, I believed that the reason you went to school was to read all day long.) So I suggested that I stay home for another year, where I could read all day long anyway. Neither my mother nor the nuns agreed with that plan, so kindergarten ... and several years of boredom ... ensued. They finally skipped me up to my academic peers when I was in 4th grade (I was in 4th grade up to Thanksgiving break, and was in 5th grade when I came back on the following Monday.)

Ene 25, 4:20pm

I was probably in first or second grade when my mother offered me the opportunity to extend my bedtime if I would spend it reading. She was trying to interest me in reading offering me something I wanted, a later bedtime. She created a monster... once I found out how much fun reading was, I would stay up and read way past when I should be asleep. I would read in class with the book hidden in my desk or lap. I would read all weekend. I have always loved reading.

Ene 27, 4:17pm

I also have no idea when I learned to read...actually I don't remember very much of my very young childhood at all. I also have no recollection of my parents reading to me either although I know that we were all readers. When I was youngish (not sure of the age) we would go to the book store and spend a great deal of time all looking at different sections of books. I remember sitting under the tables and reading the Serendipity stories. I loved those and still have some in my library. I also know that once I got into elementary school they had a great reading program. While there I found the Ramona books early on and up to The Chronicles of Prydain in 5th/6th grade. I can't remember a time I didn't love reading.

Feb 6, 9:07pm

My mother reading to me, along with the excitement of the bookmobile that stopped on our street on a regular basis, I can't remember ever not reading.
But, I do recall when reading became a passion for me. It was when I 'discovered' the Hardy Boy books. I read as many as I could get my hands on. Then, in junior high, I read the Hobbit and then the LOTR trilogy, and I never stopped acquiring and reading books after that.