I know it may shock some of you, but I used to hate reading. (Gasp!) I know! But have no fear. This story has a happy ending. I was home-schooled and I’m the oldest child so I was, as my Mother lovingly termed, the guinea pig. She hadn’t worked out all the kinks in her reading curriculum when she started teaching me, which basically means we tried everything. I did the more conventional stuff like flashcards and spelling quizzes. When that didn’t work we moved to the less conventional stuff. I glued sounds together in long craft paper caterpillar lines. I wrote in cornflower on cookie sheets. You name it. I probably tried it. Or rather, my Mom tried it on me. But none of it worked. I still couldn’t read “see spot run.”
That’s when my mom discovered something. I love stories. I used to sit with books and pretend I was reading them all the while telling myself a made up story. But when it came to reading the actual story I wouldn’t do it, because they were boring! Who cares if Spot can run? But if she would read me stories of adventurers and magic, I would sit captivated for hours. So my mom sat me down with the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and made me a deal. If I would read the first page of each chapter out loud to her, she would read me the rest of the chapter. And it worked .
We read all seven books from the Chronicles of Narnia and I loved each and everyone of them. And guess what? I learned to read. One of the most basic requirements of any book is that it must be engaging to the audience. This is still a requirement I have when reading a book. If I feel like I’m slugging through the most boring story of my life, I’m going to hate it. Even if it has vital information, I won’t retain the information unless I’m engaged.
I would be remiss if I didn’t finish with the book series that sealed the deal. I may have learned to read from the Chronicles of Narnia, but I learned to love reading from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. I still remember the day, my Mom handed me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I read the entire book to myself and loved every second of it. I was inspired by Hermione. I wanted to be her! She is a big part of why I became such a voracious reader. Because I wanted to be just like her, I learned to value knowledge in a way I never had before.
Stories have the ability to change us and move us. I became the person I am today, because of Lucy and Hermione. I owe it to my Mom who never gave up on her stubborn kid who refused to look at another spot or dot. She gave me to the tools I needed, and now I can adventure in any land I want.
Did you have a hard time learning to read? What helped you? What books where foundational in starting your obsessive book passion? Comment below! I would love to hear from you.