Reflecting on Reading and Writing

I had a lot of fun walking down memory lane today for a grad school assignment. I was asked to give a “short autobiographical history” of my reading/writing experiences. If you know me, you know that “short” does not really fit in with the rest of that prompt… but I thought I would share here a few things that I wrote about.

I loved writing about how my dad​ used to tell stories to me at bedtime

I wrote about how my Mamaw read me “Bear and Mrs. Duck” as many times as I wanted.

I raved about my adventures with Harry Potter, Jo March, and Scout Finch.

I shared about that time my mom caught me sobbing over the end of “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the many hours I spent under the covers with a flashlight or in the bathtub way after midnight reading.

I mentioned that time Carrie and I attempted to write a young adult novel and published our poetry online.

I talked about the blogs that I didn’t maintain and the picture book I made about that time I got lost in South Park Mall.

I even discussed my love-hate relationship with my Kindle. (Instant access is nice, but there’s nothing like the smell and feel of a book. Mock me all you want!)

Overall, it was fun to explore my history with reading and writing, but I love that they aren’t just history– they are part of me and always will be.

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If I could say one– okay, two– things to adults, they would be:
1. Find time to read for yourself. It is a truly magical experience.
2. Find the time to read to the kids in your life.

My family was the driving force in my love of reading, and the exposure they provided by reading to me daily was what began it all for me. My parents spent countless dollars and hours in the bookstores and libraries to encourage me to read. When people asked what to get me for birthdays and Christmas, books were always at the top of the list. Because of that, my Aunt Jamae bought me my first copy of Harry Potter– and that series has been a part of me ever since. Now that she is gone, it is so special to remember that her gift introduced me to them.

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I would not be the same person without the influence of books– or the life lessons I learned from the characters I love. If the children/teenagers in your life say they hate to read, it just means they haven’t been exposed to the right story yet. Sneak off to a bookstore and ask one of their employees what he/she might like based on his/her interests. The same goes for you, too. Don’t rely on the New York Times Best Seller List to guide your reading choices– some of them are overrated. Picking the right book is the first step on the way to reading for life, and I hope you’ll take that step.

Have questions about what might be a good book for you? I’d be happy to help, too! 

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