We read...

To know we are not alone. ~C.S. Lewis~

Monday, May 18, 2009

reading rules

Musing Mondays (BIG)Musing Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Becca of Just One More Page. Pop over and read lots of interesting comments & post your own. Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about early reading…

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? Was it from a particular person, or person(s)? Do you remember any books that you read, or were read to you, as a young child? (question courtesy of Diane)

My love of reading must be attributed to two firm philosophies shared by my parents:

1. you’re never alone if you have a book. As an only child growing up on an isolated dairy farm my complaint was either ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I want someone to play with’, which to both, my mother would apply the above philosophy. As a dyslexic (before it was cool or even recognised) I couldn’t understand the attraction of reading. For me books only came alive in my Mother’s hands. She read to me every night. It was a special, cosy, loving time that I treasured even then. We read Winnie the Pooh (E.H. Shepherd illustrations are still my favourite), Uncle Remus stories (Brer Rabbit was just so clever), and all the little girl classics (Heidi, Alice, Anne, Katie) and of course Peter Pan (the only time I found a Wendy in a book). She read to me long passed the ‘normal’ age which ‘babying’ caused my parents to argue. Mum persevered because she knew I couldn’t read, never mentioned it or criticised or doubted that it wouldn’t ‘work itself out in the fullness of time’ (another of Mum’s philosophies). If she hadn’t I wouldn’t be able to read now let alone embrace it with a passion.

2. words = power. Okay it wasn’t said in those terms but Dad was a journalist and very careful with language. It was important for both my parents that I understand the way words worked. Reading gave us access to news, as we didn’t have a tellie, & entertainment. There was a clear distinction drawn between the language used for news and novels, it was a priority for my Dad that I understand both what I read and how to communicate. We discussed etymology every time I asked for a definition and I was instructed to find the dictionary for spelling (the irony of which appealed to me). I was introduced to ‘good’ writing and steered away from ‘rubbish’ by my book-snob parents. It was a good many decades before I broke this habit to find virtue in all writing (well most – I still don’t like profanity).

edit: Musing Monday sponsored by baby-book-Becca

8 comments:

BookPlease said...

It was my dad who read to me and I remember all those books too from my childhood, except Winnie the Pooh, which I found later. I also remember being frustrated about the dictionary - how could you look up a word when you couldn't spell it?

I'm not on Blogger - my answer is here.

Rebecca said...

you didn't have to go back and edit it, you dork :) I was just teasing cause you did it far longer than I would have.

I love that in your house books and reading had such an importance - had a place at all. I can't imagine that. I never wanted for books, I could never complain about that, but books never really had that emphasis.

Heather said...

The bit about the etymology and the use of the dictionary reminded me of Jeannette Walls' dad in The Glass Castle. Thanks for sharing your story... very cool.

Molly said...

Those are two great philosophies that still ring true today. You are fortunate to have been raised by such wise parents :)

gautami tripathy said...

I too owe it to my parents for my reading habit!

Here is my post

caite said...

two excellent points. and both so true. I know that whole "never alone if you have a book" has always been big for me.

mattviews said...

That asthma had confined me indoor helped cultivate my passion for reading.

I learned to read in nursing school, sent home with these pictorial books with easy characters, both in English and Chinese. My family does a decent amount of reading, but nothing like the kind of back-to-back reading that I do! :)

Nise' said...

I hope when my kids are asked why they are readers they will say its because of their parents as lovely as you have done!