My Literacy History

This was an assignment from Children’s Lit that I thought was interesting. It’s basically my memories with books. I have a lot of them. It’s up to you if you read this or not 🙂 Some of this was also in my  “About the Site” information.

My earliest memory of reading is not my own. My mother remembers when I was quiet as a toddler, she never panicked like she would when my more active sisters were quiet. She typically found me napping with a book. One of my favorite books was The Monster at the End of the Book. I thought it was so funny that I could control Grover’s world page by page; I even knocked down a brick wall reading that book!  My mother was an avid reader, and my older sister loved to play teacher, so they often read to me. In kindergarten, a fifth grader led us in a reading group – that was one of my favorite times of day.

We were at the library pretty often, for my mother’s sake as well as for my own and my sisters’. I once brought a stuffed animal to the library to read to it while Mom looked elsewhere, but we had to go back when I left it in the children’s room accidentally. I had my own library card due to a campaign at school; it usually had fines on it. During the summer, we were able to get whatever books we wanted but we had to get at least one non-fiction book while we were there. I read a few biographies (usually of authors) when I had to get non-fiction, but I was mostly overloaded with Baby-Sitters Club books. I also remember getting into conversations about books with my mother in places to pass the time. We discussed The Cay while waiting for the doctor, and I refused to answer a question about Philip’s racism towards Timothy just because I didn’t want to hurt a black man’s feelings sitting beside me. (Yes, even now I find that weird.) I had “summer school” sessions with my sister, who was in college when I was in fifth grade. I remember having deep discussions about The Giver, including Jonas’s realization about love. In my elementary school years, I was never without some sort of book. In fact, with the exception of my own vote, I was voted Class Bookworm unanimously in fifth grade.

In middle and high school, I read thrillers and “real life” novels during SSR time. Norma Fox Mazer’s Silver reminded me of my friends and how we stood up for each other. I adored my Language Arts teacher Mrs. Farrell– she gave us a lot of freedom in our reading and her enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone. Because I was involved in various after-school activities, I had a hard time fitting reading into my schedule other than SSR time. I was a sporadic reader during this time, although I still loved reading. I had a lot of reading to get done for English. While they made me suffer reading Melville’s Billy Budd, I also found I liked a lot of classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, and A Doll’s House. I found myself in the library at lunch quite a bit during high school. Every now and then I got to read for pleasure; it typically involved me staying up at all hours. In high school, I leaned towards myths and fantasies because I was trying to write in that style in my creative writing course. I also ate up anything my creative writing teacher suggested, which was varied and sometimes odd.

At Milligan, I worked in the library, and I loved it. I got the best sections to shelve: the novels, the children’s books, and philosophy and Bible. I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I hid out reading most of the books I was supposed to be shelving. I was reading for fun a lot more than I was in high school. I was very intrigued by banned/challenged books, and began to read those simply to see what the fuss was about. I include books like Harry Potter, The DaVinci Code, and many Judy Blume books. By reading challenged books, I realized I had a bit of a rebellious streak– as I told one of my friends about Dan Brown’s novels, “If you tell me something’s the devil, I’m going to find out for myself to find out the big deal is.” I like judging for myself whether a book should be challenged instead of taking someone’s word on it. I’ve found that most people take a sentence or two out of context and don’t understand why they’re censoring it other than what they’ve heard. I’ve also discovered that you can learn the most from books that upset people. Either way, the ALA’s Challenged Book List usually becomes my reading list. I also read a lot of memoirs during my college years. Donald Miller was one of my favorite authors, and I strove to write like him: funny, honest, and able to put things in perspective.

During my internship, reading was my release. I devour books, and quickly get through them. I still read a lot of young adult books to keep up with my students’ interests. I’ll read serious books and humorous books; while I have deep respect for Jane Austen, I didn’t hesitate to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lately, I’ve enjoyed Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden mysteries. I re-read some of Harry Potter once a year or so, and no matter what, I always cry in the appropriate places. I love historical fiction, like the Pink Carnation series (about spies in Napoleonic France). I still read many challenged and classic books, but I’ve let my guard down a little and I pick up whatever is popular or whatever seems appealing.

I’ve been in love with reading from the time I was using books as pillows. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have the power over Grover’s brick wall, the ability to solve the world’s problems with the BSC, friends like Silver, Atticus’s wisdom, Don Miller’s humor, and Harry’s quest to keep me up at night.


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