Why I read?
Someone asked me why I read all the time? They followed it up with reading is boring and makes me fall asleep whenever I pick up a book. I told them that maybe they have not found that one book that hooked them from the start. They followed that up with a “nope, I just don’t like reading. So why do you?”
Once I got passed my shock at this confession. Think Kevin from Home Alone after he used after shaving cream for the first time. I was shocked but wanted to scream at the person.
However after the shock passed I took a step back and thought maybe there are people out there who don’t like reading and find it odd that I could spend hours inside a Barnes and Nobel, suffering Amazon making To Be Read (TBR in booknerd talk) and to buy lists. That I would rather on a Friday night go home and get into a nice pair of pajamas and curl up with a nice long book and lose myself within the pages of the book. That having over 1,000 books inside my room while I buy more each month and rarely get rid of them is a strange behavior. Maybe in this conversation I’m really the odd one and the other person is “normal.”
Just a glimpse into my bookcase!
I started off telling the individual that I was not always this into reading. In fact reading was extremely hard for me when I was younger. I entered Kindergarten and was barely able to read. It was not until the end of Kindergarten that I was tested and determined that I was behind my peers in reading. However they still pushed me into the first grade. While in first grade I was able to get to a Kindergarten reading level but I was still behind. Also while in the first grade I was tested again and this time it was determined that I was behind in reading AND had a speech problem. This was due to the fact that I did not start talking until I was three years old.
So first grade saw me entering the Resource Specialist Program (RSP). I started my journey in RSP and Speech by having weekly speech sessions along with traveling down to the RSP room when I needed help on classwork. At the end of first grade I was tested and it was determined that I was at a Kindergarten reading level but almost at a first grade reading level. So what happens? I get sent to the second grade. Where another year passes with RSP and Speech. This time my teacher sent myself and other RSP students to the RSP room as much as she could because she did not want to handle us. During the yearly standard testing the teacher administering my exam wrote on a post it note “what can’t you read the directions?” And harsh reality there was that I could not read the directions. This whole time my rock has been my mom, she was and still is by my side. After second grade she put her foot down and asked the school to provide me with a summer tutor. Which they did. I had weekly meetings with this tutor at the public library all summer. In fact my library still has the room where those meetings took place and each time I see the room it reminds me of those wonderful meetings which helped me become the reader I am today.
At the start of third grade I get tested again in both reading and speech. And you know what? Those reading lessons paid off. I was now caught up with my peers in reading. But the school still wanted me to stay in the RSP they said for spelling and any other problems that might arise. I stayed in RSP until middle of seventh grade when I put my foot down and said I wanted out. I stopped Speech in the third grade. But now here is where my love for reading started. I was able to read now and discovered the magic that was in reading. And because she was not easy for I realized that reading allowed me to escape what was around me at school. When I would ask a teacher for help or go to the RSP room I was teased and laughed at. Students would call me names and say that RSP stood for ‘really stupid people’ followed by laughing. So I decided that to escape the harsh world in elementary I spent as much time in the library where my world was changed.
Third grade was the first year I spent most of my free time inside the walls of the library. I would spend recess and lunch when I could reading and looking at the books. I became friends with the librarian. And if I was not reading I would help her restock the books and after she would let me pick something out of the library shop for free. Usually I would pick one of those cool pencil erasers and show it off to my friends in class. Now fast forward to the end of third grade when I was tested again and this time it was determined that I was not at a fourth grade reading level and AHEAD of my peers. So all that library time and reading has paid off. I entered the fourth grade and by the time I left I was at a fifth grade level. At the end of fifth grade I was at 8th grade level and started reading Stephen King (thanks grandma for letting me read The Shining). By eight grade I was at a high school level and high school I was at a college level. So once I discovered reading I did not want to stop and wanted to read as much as I could and that is what I’m doing today.
So I asked the person “you want to know why I read?” Well I read to
- escape the harsh world around us
- journey to far away places that can’t be reached my plane, train, boat, or car
- meet new people
- fall in love with fictional worlds
- fall in love with fictional people
Overall reading to me is magic and it’s powerful. It’s like what Stephen King Said “books are uniquely portable magic.” So fair in my journey of reading I have seen a young wizard battle a supervillain, a hobbit and his friends destroy a ring, four siblings become royalty to a new land, a father go crazy during winter time while taking care of a hotel, a rapid dog terrorize a mother & son in their car, a child coming to life after getting hit by a truck, and a time lord travel trough the past/present/future saving the world. And each time I pick up a new book I know I will go on a new journey. A journey that will stay with my forever.
Books are powerful and can change a life. All you have to do is pick up a book and turn on your imagination and be open to the journey that is waiting for you on page one.
So I finally looked at the person while holding a bag of books and said “I read because I can. Because reading is a powerful tool.”
And as the Doctor on Doctor Who said “a book is the most dangerous weapon in the world.” Therefore I won’t be putting my books down anytime soon. In fact I think I might have to buy a new book today. Let me consult my oh so long to buy list.