A Reading Biography...

Reflections on questions from The Reading Tutor's Handbook

How did I learn to read and write?
-My mother always told me that I taught myself how to read, but I can't even remember learning how to write.  It seems like I've always done it.  I vaguely remember drawing out countless letters as I practiced, but I'm pretty sure my mom worked with me at home even before I went to pre-school.

When did I learn to read and write?
-Some time between the ages of 3 and 4 years old

Who was most helpful in teaching me to read and write?
-My mom and I'm sure lots of teachers at school helped as well

What are my first memories of stories and books?
-These have captivated my attention for as long as I can remember.  My mom used to buy books for my sister and I, she even ordered them over the phone.  We used to die of anticipation before they were delivered to the house.  I don't remember much before "Mandie" books and "The Christian Heritage" series.  I remember loving my "Precious Moments" Bible, and I know that my parents read us books before bedtime.  

Was learning to read and write easy or difficult for me?
-As far as I know, it came easy to me.

How have reading and writing helped me over the years?
-My parents homeschooled my siblings and I over the span of five years.  My mom used to set aside time after breakfast for us to write a paragraph about something.  I can't remember if she picked the topic or if she left it up to us, but the practice of writing a little bit every day was strongly encouraged.  I was at least 7 or 8 years old, and my sister even younger than that. When I was eleven years old, my sister Melissa got a "diary" for her birthday. I loved the idea of having a place to write my secrets, something I could keep under lock and key, so I got a 'diary', too.  These earliest writings were extremely childish, angry, and detailed (down to what we ate for lunch).  I still keep a journal now, but my entries are much more focused on my devotional times with God and for personal/spiritual change in my life rather than teenage angst and petty drama.  I have kept a blog since 2006, and my blogging persona versus my journal writing persona are different, which I find rather interesting.  Writing has helped me to organize my thoughts, to explore my creativity (I wrote poems as a child and well into my early twenties), and it's challenged me to become a better person.

Reading, though, is one of those passions that has never seemed to go away, even though some days (especially lately) it looks more like learning how to make butternut squash soup from a pinterest article.  I have always enjoyed reading, the more fiction the better, and I have learned new words and explored a thousand worlds.  Reading the Bible has changed me as a person, to be more like Christ, and reading other books has taken me into the minds of countless authors, exposed me to thoughts, ideas, and stories I never could have dreamed.  Some books I wish I could forget, and some I wish I had time to read a thousand times over.  I can't imagine a world without reading, and I'm so thankful that my parents encouraged this in myself and my siblings.  

Why do I want to help someone learn to read and write?
- I want other people, especially children, to have the same exploration that I did as a child, to feel the freedom of a thousand words at their fingertips, to choose from whichever book they want at the library, to have a spate of words to pluck from their minds as they describe their day, to express themselves with ease.  Reading and writing give me opportunities to share my thoughts and opinions, and now in this technological age to share with countless readers.  I want to nurture this in someone.

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