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Most children grew up with reading being just a part of their homework,
something in the way of them watching TV. In our house, reading was better than that.
It was exciting, and the stories could be amazing. Even if your favorite show wasn’t on,
you could always pick up a good book. It was, without fail, a perfect source of
entertainment. I learned all of this at an early age, and feel that because of this, I later
became a reading enthusiast. It all started with my parents reading to me and my siblings
out loud, and eventually stemmed into a love of almost all books
My parents always emphasized the importance of education, and knew that reading
had helped them out as they were growing up, so they always encouraged us to be strong
readers. My mom, being a pre-school teacher, always found creative ways to make the
whole thing fun for us. Trips to the library were frequent, and we often stayed for
story-time and a puppet show or two. I remember every Wednesday night, in the little
room downstairs at the library, was kids night. Sometimes magicians took the stage,
sometimes it was a sing-a-long, once Big Bird even came with the rest of the Sesame
Street crew. No matter what was there, my family was always right there in the front row.
Those days at the library proved to be a great influence on us as we got a little
older. My little sister and I spent a lot of our time together, mainly because we had to
share a room. One of our favorite games was to set our room up like a library. I can
hardly believe that we actually played games like that, but we spent countless hours doing
it. Our picture books and stories would be lined up along our beds and dressers, we even
had the check-out counter and everything! After we got our books from the “library,” we
would bring out the stuffed animals and it would be story-time. I would read out loud to
my sister and the “audience” and hold the book up to show them all of the pictures. When
my sister got older, she would take over the reading, and it was my turn to listen and look
at the pictures.
Bed time was never that bad at my house. For the longest time it meant that my
older brother, younger sister, and I all got to pick out one story each, and my parents
would read them all to us. We would all climb into bed and struggle to see all of the
pictures. Of course we all had our favorites, mine was Cinderella, and most nights it
would be the same stories, but we still listened with excitement. For hours my parents
imitated the perfect Papa Bear, and made it sound like Donald Duck was in the bedroom
Later on, as I went through elementary school into middle school, my favorite
went from Cinderella to The Sweet Valley Twins series. My mom found a little group of
teachers that wanted to start a club that was sponsored by a local TV station. It was
called Junior Great Books. I thought that it was going to be just flat out boring, and I
really didn’t want to do it. After I was forced to go to the first meeting, I got a
surprisingly entertaining little book. It had the best stories in it. We got to read about
them, and then discuss the story, like a real book club! At one of the meetings later on, a
news reporter came and talked about the book with us. It was all so much fun, we even
got to be on TV!
In high school, my favorite became The Grapes of Wrath. I dreaded classes like
math, where the homework was worksheets, and individual problems, but I never had a
problem with the reading assignments. I remember my first “high schooler’s” book, The
Lord of the Flies. To this day, it’s still one of my favorites. I got so into that book. I
read it all the way through by the time I was supposed to finish the first couple of
chapters. I remember when we saw the movie later in class, I was one of the only ones
who actually knew what was going on. It made me really look forward to the rest of high
school, although I
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