My earliest reading memory

Posted December 11, 2019 by Maire in meme, Whimsy / 8 Comments

You know how sometimes life is like a jumbled 1980’s movie training montage? My earliest reading memory is something like that.

Wednesday Weekday Blogging Challenge

The WednesdayWeekly Blogging Challenge is a weekly blog hop hosted byΒ Long and Short Reviews. Last week we talked about Book Boyfriends and/or Girlfriends. This week it’s all about the nostalgia!

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

Snippet from one of my grade 2 report cards.
Snippet from one of my grade 2 report cards.

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.

Poster for 1980's film Annie starring Aileen Quinn

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.

The Montage

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 πŸ˜€


What are your earliest reading memories? Comment down below to let me know πŸ™‚

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8 responses to “My earliest reading memory

  1. What lovely memories of reading. I loved Annie and had the doll from the movie. I wish I’d have had the book, too. Thanks for sharing your memories. πŸ™‚

  2. Marianne

    OMG, you’re my clone, lol. Well, not completely as I was in high school when Annie came out. But I LOVED Battle of the Planets (I wanted to be Princess in the worst way) and read my copy of Black Beauty until the pages about fell out.

    • Yeah. My brother went for Macross in a big way, but I’d already been there, done that with BotP πŸ˜‰
      I, too, wanted to be Princess. I’ve so far resisted picking up the series on DVD because I don’t want to spoil what few memories are there πŸ™‚

  3. My sister and I also learned to read via different methods (even though there are only 2 years 9 months between us AND we went to the same school!) I had phonic, she learned by sight words, and to this day she can’t spell worth crap… lol. I had to laugh at the reaction of you wanting to buy the book. In the 7th grade, I wanted to check out Gone With the Wind, but the school librarian didn’t want to lend it to me. When I took it back after a week she didn’t believe I had read it all until I told her the story. After that, I could check out anything I wanted. lol Thanks for stopping by yesterday!

    • Experimental school systems are such a pain, eh? There are only two years between my brother and I, but we started reading at different schools. Just glad the next school we both attended was able to help fix the problem caused by the first!

      Like you, I outgrew the kids section of the library. They knew, from seeing me haul books home every 2 weeks, that I could read at that level. They just called my Mum to get her permission to read the adult books.

      Growing up in a small town is both a blessing and a curse πŸ˜‰

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