Thursday, November 26, 2015

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 27 - What Was Reading Like for Me as a Kid

I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. My parents helped to instill a love of reading in me from a young age, I assume by reading to me when I was an infant/toddler, and by bribing me with money to read over the summer once I became an independent reader. I'm not sure the bribes were really necessary though.

One of my favorite things from school were Scholastic book orders (there were a couple other book order programs too I think. I know I would occasionally have three different book orders that needed to be turned in on the same day.) Every time I would bring home a new book order form, I'd ask my mother how much money I could spend, and I was fortunate that we were in a financial position for me to usually spend $20-$30 per book order. When the orders came in, I'd always have a whole stack of books compared to the rest of my classmates 1 or 2. At the time, I thought that was an indication that I just liked reading more than the rest of my class, but now that I'm an adult I wonder if in some cases it just indicated that they couldn't afford the expense. 

1st Day of School - 2nd or 3rd grade
My mother likes to tell a story about getting a call from the school when I was in second grade. Apparently my teacher and the school administration were concerned because I wanted to spend my recess time reading rather than running around and playing. My mother has a degree in education, so she understands that one of the primary purposes of recess is to allow children to burn off their extra energy, so she asked if I was causing problems in class because I was reading during recess. The teacher assured her that I was a great student and not causing problems in class, so my mother asked what the problem with me reading was then? I was a scrawny kid, so it wasn't a matter of me needing the extra exercise, and we had PE every day at school anyway. In any case, after that the teachers started checking my pockets and my coat before recess to make sure I wasn't taking a book out with me. 

That's not the only time I got in trouble in school over books though. My senior year of high school we had a "class" that lasted for thirty minutes right after lunch because we shared a building and several teachers with the junior high, so this "class" was during the junior high's lunch time. They had the same thing during our lunch time. The "class" was dedicated to reading, mostly. On Mondays and Wednesdays we read books, on Tuesdays we had a rather simple math word problem to do. On Thursdays we read Newsweek, and on Fridays we read the newspaper. My teacher during this class didn't really care if we were reading as long as we were being quiet. It was seriously perfectly acceptable to sit with our heads on our desks for the entire period as long as we were quiet. I didn't really like reading Newsweek or the newspaper, so I started taking a book with me on Thursdays and Fridays to read instead. That was not okay with the teacher. At one point he told me if I brought a book to class one more time, I'd get a detention. I felt that was unfair since he didn't require us to read Newsweek or the newspaper if we didn't want to, so the next day I brought a book with me. I wasn't even planning on reading it that day (and didn't) and I got a detention that the principal insisted I serve. I still think it was bullshit, but I served my time. 

I remember being made fun of a lot because I loved to read as a child, and that actually hasn't changed much depending on who I'm talking to. I've had "friends" here in Germany that have poked fun at me for reading. It didn't really bother me as a child, and it doesn't bother me much now (although I do tend to avoid those people more now because why would I want to be friends with someone who doesn't like to read?) 

What was reading like for you as a child? - Katie 

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