I have a lot of memories of reading and books when I was a kid. Some of them are more clear then others, but I feel like many of them are a part of who I became. They shaped my love of books and reading in ways I never, not in a million years, would have ever anticipated.
The first one is a little more fuzzy of the two I'm sharing today. It's less concrete, but, I guess, that's because I wasn't really reading, though I was surrounded by books. I don't know how old I was, but I was young. I had this leather rocking chair that was a tiny version of the big one we had in the living room. It was brown and not all that pretty but boy did I love it! I remember setting my chair up and placing a stack of books next to it. I loved to use these older hard back copies of Little Women, eight cousins and I don't even remember what else. They were some of my mom's favorite books form when she was younger and, because I knew that, they seemed like gold to me. So there I would sit in my comfy chair that looked nothing like the chair of a teacher, though I would imagine I was just that, a teacher. I would lovingly pick up a book, open it and try to decipher the chapter title even though I was so young I was just learning to read. Then I would pretend to read the book to my class, making up the story as I went as if I had any idea what the pages really said. Sometimes by the time I had finished, I was surrounded by a collapsed tower of big chapter books that seemed like the greatest treasure in the world and the hardest task to accomplish all at the same time!
But that wasn't the longest lasting memory I have. No. I guess I should start with the fact that I have a learning disability, a language based learning disability. That resulted in reading being a monumental struggle for me. I would try with all of my might, but the effort was just so overwhelming and the reward so minuscule that I pretty much avoided the task all together. But my mom, this woman who loved to read, wasn't ready to give up. So, every night for years, my night would end with my mom laying in my twin (I think) bed next to me reading a chapter or two out of a book I had chosen. Sometimes it was the Boxcar children. Sometimes it was the Babysitter's club and, sometimes, it was a book about my favorite band (New Kids on the Block). I remember getting to chose the books we read but, I think sometimes she swayed me a little. I remember thinking that it was just a part of my bedtime routine but now, years later and with three kids of my own, I think it was more then that. I think it was a way for my mom to introduce me to the wonder of stories and to help me see that reading really is worth the effort if you can find the right book; the right story.
I know I'm not the only kid who had bedtime stories read to them, but those times listening as my mom read to me, it seemed like it was somehow more special. It seemed sacred. It mattered and I truly believe that those nights were part of why I later saw the magic in a good book.
Well, there you have it. Two of the earliest memories I have of reading and books. What are some of your earliest memories?