You know how sometimes life is like a jumbled 1980’s movie training montage? My earliest reading memory is something like that.
Method in the Madness
I moved around a lot as a kid. My Dad was in Industrial Design and Project Management, and the 80’s were one long recession. As is often the case, we went where the jobs were – usually between Vancouver and various parts of Ontario. I learned to read in British Columbia, where they had determined that phonics were the way to go.
My brother wasn’t so lucky. He first learned to read in an Ontario school where they were still experimenting with different techniques. His class was learning by sight, and as he’d had rudimentary phonics training from Sesame Street and watching me learn, it caused some conflicts. He’s all good now, due to some extra phonics training and finally finding the books he enjoys reading, but it was a stressful experience for all of us.
My Earliest Reading Memory
By the time I was old enough to actually remember choosing books to read, I was in grade 2 or 3 in Ontario. My friend Bradley had discovered the “Three Investigators” books in the school library, so we both started checking them out and reading them. Our teacher began reading Gordon Korman’s “I want to go home!” in class, so that (and ‘Who is Bugs Potter?’) was added to the household thanks to the Scholastic Book Fair.
My mother took us to the library on a regular basis. Through her, we read the Dorie the Little Witch series and Black Beauty.
Then I bought my very first book with my own money.
I saved up all my money for weeks. Allowances at that time were mostly given based on whether we remembered to ask for it, so I did my best to earn my dollar a week until I had enough scraped together with the couch cushion cash to afford the movie cover novel of Annie.
Yes. The version with Carole Burnett. Annie was hugely popular at the time. It was even being advertised in magazines geared to children (Like Dynamite and Bananas). I knew that I would only see the movie once in the theatre, but I could read the book over and over. Yes, books were early Netflix.
The teenager working the cash didn’t want to sell it to me. He thought I was too young. So I read aloud full passages from the book until he was convinced that I not only could read it, but could understand it as well.
So if you ask me what my earliest reading memory is, it’s a compilation. I remember magic and horses, humour and mystery, and challenging authority.
It’s my teachers praising me for my ability to read, and my brother’s teacher shoving papers into my arms, telling me to teach him how to do it.
I also remember reading with my brother, and comparing books with my friends, and jumping off the sofa while yelling G-Force! at the top of my lungs.
It’s a memory. It doesn’t have to make sense 😀
What are your earliest reading memories? Comment down below to let me know 🙂