Most children grew up with reading being just a part of their homework, something in the way of them watching TV. In our house, reading was better than that. It was exciting, and the stories could be amazing. Even if your favorite show wasnt on, you could always pick up a good book. It was, without fail, a perfect source of entertainment. I learned all of this at an early age, and feel that because of this, I later became a reading enthusiast. It all started with my parents reading to me and my siblings out loud, and eventually stemmed into a love of almost all books
My parents always emphasized the importance of education, and knew that reading had helped them out as they were growing up, so they always encouraged us to be strong readers. My mom, being a pre-school teacher, always found creative ways to make the whole thing fun for us. Trips to the library were frequent, and we often stayed for story-time and a puppet show or two. I remember every Wednesday night, in the little room downstairs at the library, was kids night. Sometimes magicians took the stage, sometimes it was a sing-a-long, once Big Bird even came with the rest of the Sesame
Street crew. No matter what was there, my family was always right there in the front row. Those days at the library proved to be a great influence on us as we got a little older. My little sister and I spent a lot of our time together, mainly because we had to share a room. One of our favorite games was to set our room up like a library. I can hardly believe that we actually played games like that, but we spent countless hours doing it. Our picture books and stories would be lined up along our beds and dressers, we even had the check-out counter and everything!
After we got our books from the library, we would bring out the stuffed animals and it would be story-time. I would read out loud to my sister and the audience and hold the book up to show them all of the pictures. When my sister got older, she would take over the reading, and it was my turn to listen and look at the pictures. Bed time was never that bad at my house. For the longest time it meant that my older brother, younger sister, and I all got to pick out one story each, and my parents would read them all to us. We would all climb into bed and struggle to see all of the pictures.
Of course we all had our favorites, mine was Cinderella, and most nights it would be the same stories, but we still listened with excitement. For hours my parents imitated the perfect Papa Bear, and made it sound like Donald Duck was in the bedroom with us. Later on, as I went through elementary school into middle school, my favorite went from Cinderella to The Sweet Valley Twins series. My mom found a little group of teachers that wanted to start a club that was sponsored by a local TV station. It was called Junior Great Books. I thought that it was going to be just flat out boring, and I eally didnt want to do it.
After I was forced to go to the first meeting, I got a surprisingly entertaining little book. It had the best stories in it. We got to read about them, and then discuss the story, like a real book club! At one of the meetings later on, a news reporter came and talked about the book with us. It was all so much fun, we even got to be on TV! In high school, my favorite became The Grapes of Wrath. I dreaded classes like math, where the homework was worksheets, and individual problems, but I never had a problem with the reading assignments. I remember my first high schoolers book, The Lord of the Flies.
To this day, its still one of my favorites. I got so into that book. I read it all the way through by the time I was supposed to finish the first couple of chapters. I remember when we saw the movie later in class, I was one of the only ones who actually knew what was going on. It made me really look forward to the rest of high school, although I soon found out that not all classes were going to be that fun or interesting. While I learned that reading definitely helped me in such classes as English, here were some classes that it just didnt help at all.
No matter how pumped I was about reading, there were always those assigned packets of essays that I could never get through. Even though these assignments were bound to pop up sometime, I still managed to keep a positive attitude about reading throughout high school. Later we moved onto such classics like Les Miserables, and The Scarlet Letter. I loved reading all of these stories. It was like a history lesson, without having to listen to some boring teacher amble on about things that I could barely understand.
Books gave me a picture of how things happened, or in the fictional sense, how they could have happened. I loved being able to use my imagination in school, and reading was one of the only ways that I could do that. And even now I struggle to put down my new favorites, like Mary Higgins Clark, and concentrate on the assigned texts books that I now have. Throughout my childhood, my parents stressed the value of reading, and they knew the important role that it would play in our futures. Now, in college, I see the importance of it that they once did.
Without the strong reading skills that most college students have, classes would be at least ten times harder to follow, and homework, next to impossible. I believe that reading can create a discipline that is highly beneficial, and can also give birth to new attention span that is very useful in some classes! Whether it was the kids night at the library, the Junior Great Books, or even the assigned readings in high school, I have no doubt that this helped to stem my later interest in reading.