When I was around 4 or 5 years old I remember my uncle’s mother in-law would always make me practice reading whenever she visited from the Philippines. She wasn’t really my grandmother but I still called her “Grandma” nonetheless. I had just started kindergarten by this point so I only really knew my alphabet and a few key sight words. Grandma was really the one to teach me how to read. She was a teacher back in the Philippines so she had books that would eventually teach me how to read. At first I didn’t like having to read the books, mostly because Grandma made me do it during playtime, but eventually I started to enjoy it because I could read the words much better than when I’d started. I was able to read phrases like “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” I felt super proud of myself and would promptly go to my mom and read the sentence to her. She gave a big smile and high-fived me. This reward, albeit simple, was what drove me to continue reading. I figured if learning to read simple phrases and sentences like that made my mom proud, I would go and learn how to read entire books and show her.  So now instead of being reluctant to read during playtime, I would finish my dinner quicker and go straight to Grandma and beg her to teach me to read. She would laugh and then pull out her books.

Now in elementary school I absolutely loved reading. It got the point where I was a third grader reading at a fifth grade level. There was this one book series I remember the library had, it had 34 books in it so far (it was an ongoing series). I started them in 4th grade and finished it in 5th grade and there were 40 books in the series by that time. I felt it was an achievement seeing as the books were 300-400 pages each. I recall getting reading awards during the awards assembly. I went over to my mom when the assembly had completed and showed my mom, she had the same big smile when I read my first sentence to her.

In middle school I did not read as much from the school library, rather I bought books from the store. There was one book series I was particularly interested in during that period in time. It was the Percy Jackson series. I had started reading the series in 5th grade. By the time I was in middle school the series was at the second part. The second part of series consisted of much bigger books. Instead of being 300-400 page books they became 800-1000 page books. I personally enjoyed this change seeing as the stories became much longer and much more happened. My love for reading was apparent when I still finished the book in 6 hours or less. I would pride myself on being able to read 200 pages an hour, until my cousin showed me up when she could read 400 pages an hour.

In high school I did not do as much reading as my previous years. However, I did read online articles as I was fascinated with astronomy and still am. I would research anomalies in space and other such subjects in my freetime. I would spend hours just reading whole articles soaking in all the information. Eventually, I wrote a paper my junior about “White Holes” because of my passion for reading and astronomy. Unfortunately I seldom read books at all during high school. It was all online articles or homework. But my passion for reading did not die. During my freshman year we were reading a play, Romeo & Juliet, and because I loved reading so much I decided to the read the whole play before our class even finished it. Another way my passion for reading showed was when my teacher chose me as Romeo for the play because I could read clearly and with good diction. During my sophomore year we had to write a short story essay. The minimum words was 500 and I was not too sure I would be able to meet that requirement, but because of my passion for reading my imagination was pretty wild. My short story essay ended up being much too long by about 2000 words. My english teacher made me shorten the story up by quite a lot. My junior and senior years in high school I spent teaching my younger siblings how to read. At first I would go over their homework and teach them the sight words, then we moved onto phrases. By the end of my senior year my little sister would read to me at night instead of vice versa. My mom thought my sister had just memorized the story so I told her to get another book. My little sister was able to read that book as well with minor help.

Overall my passion for reading started when I was 5. I learned to love reading through my family and through school. I learned to love reading because I could make my mom proud with my reading accomplishments. Eventually I was able to share that love of reading to my siblings and hopefully set them on a path for passion of reading. Now that I am a freshman in college I hope that my love for reading will help me to strive in academics, as I know there is a lot of reading in college.