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What's your earliest memory of reading?: 04/22/17
BetterWorldBooks asked today on its Twitter feed, "What's your earliest memory of reading?" They also ask, "Have you always been an avid reader?"
My earliest memory goes back to kindergarten. The classroom had a set of early reading books. They all had yellow covers and looked a lot like Playbills. The idea was that these things were supposed to teach us how to read. But they were so dumb. There was no story. No drama. Very little in the way of characterization.
She would work with each of us individually. We'd go up to the front of the class where she had two chairs set aside. She'd sit in one and whoever was it would sit in the other. If it was a new book, she'd read it out loud so we could hear the words and see the words at the same time.
Here's the thing — the stories were so ridiculously simplistic that there wasn't any point in learning how to read the words. The books were so short it was just easier to memorize the whole thing as she read it. Then when it was my turn to read it, I could recite it.
Now here's what I don't remember. I don't remember if I was already literate at the time. I do remember kindergarten seeming like a colossal waste of time, except for learning how to swing by myself.
I know that my grandparents read to me on a regular basis as did my parents. I know they bought books for me. I know they took me to the library — though I didn't get my own card until I was in high school.
On the flip side of this kindergarten memory is the a vague mental montage of me reading and re-reading a copy of the Hobbit that had full color stills from the 1970s animated film. I've read that book so many times the Hobbit is pretty much part of my DNA.
One possibility is, I had the Hobbit memorized. The other possibility is I really was literate by the time kindergarten started. Regardless, all this happened thirty-nine years ago.