The love of reading
Reading — it is one of my favourite hobbies, something I do often even when I should be doing something else. But is wasn’t always like this. As a child I didn’t like to read as I couldn’t read. I would look at a word and I just couldn’t say it – it was all a muddle. To make it worst we had to read aloud in groups at school and these groups were not always selected based on skill level resulting in me “reading” aloud with others who could read much better. It was embarrassing and humiliating (which is why I hate reading aloud as an adult). My lack of reading ability had nothing to do with the lack of books in our home – we had many many books. We also didn’t have a TV so that wasn’t the distraction. I just couldn’t grasp the concept no matter how I was taught.
As you could image – being unable to read also affects writing and as a result I was poor at writing and spelling (which simply added to my embarrassment and lack of confidences). Then one day when I was 12 I picked up a book called “Little Old Mrs Pepperpot“ by Alf Proysen and read it. Why was this signification – it was the first book I had read from beginning to end without difficulty – something had clicked in my brain and I could do it. I was so excited – the fact that I can remember the details demonstrated how significant it was to me. I quick found another book to read “The Little Witch” and suddenly the world opened up for me and I found that reading wasn’t this horrible activity to be afraid of but something that brings joy and pleasure and allows your imagine to wander off to anywhere in the world. In saying this, I still stumbled over words, however this didn’t stop me from trying and anyway missing a few words doesn’t stop me comprehending the story.
It wasn’t long before I had consumed the “Anne of Green Gables” books, the “Billabong” books (Australian literature), “The Little House on the Prairies” series, “Little Women", “What Katy Did”, ”The Nurse series" (Boyles) and so on. I still have the full list of books I read between the age of 12 to 16 (a list I was very proud of) and it would appear that I read non-stop, making up for lost time. However I did make quite the leap from teenage books to adult reading and by the age of 14 I was reading Alice in Wonderland, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, (and other Russian literature), Les Miserables (thanks to my brother who introduced me to Victor Hugo) and many others. I haven’t stopped since and have no plans to. However I did have a bump in the road when it came to the quality of books I read. I always say to people – if Year 12 English exams had been based on romance novels (the trashier the better) I would have passed with an A++ as I consumed many of them, hiding them under the bed so my mother never knew. In fact I was known to stay up very late or get up early to finish a book:)
My eldest son also struggled with reading but I made sure he was always surrounded by literature (I loved buying children’s books) and given every opportunity to read no matter how poor it was. It also finally clicked for him and now he loves reading as much as me and has quite a collection of books.
So the moral of the story is – poor readers as children don’t always turn out poor reading adults, don’t embarrass them by making them read aloud with other children who can read well, let them learn at their own pace and one day it will all fall into place. Just make sure you share the love of books with your children and in time they will love them as much as you.
The downside to all this reading is that I buy HEAPS – if I had to choice between clothing or books, sorry girls I would choice a book!!!! Then clothing!!!!
PS For all those in Australia who find buying books expensive – I buy all of mine from the UK (no postage charged) as they are much cheaper and have a larger selection. They also sell a good range of Christian literature. http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/