Growing up I absolutely loved listening to stories. My mom read me a chapter of a book during our nightly bedtime rituals. I listened to every Laura Ingalls Wilder novel by the time I was in second grade; and although I absolutely loved hearing the stories read to me I blatantly refused to read them for myself. It was not anything to deep I just did not think I was the best reader so why even bother, I got read to everydays anyways.
On about year three of my anti reading campaign was when the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came into theaters. I was seven years old and I had seen every movie leading up to it and was completely and utterly enthralled by the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and so was my sweet mother. So you can see the look of confusion and rage on my face when my mom told me she was leaving to watch it in theaters WITHOUT me. Before I could even inquire as to what in the world was going on she said “you can see the movie once you have read the book”. Okay mom I get it you think readings good for you or something
So after many tearful arguments I finally caved and my mom and I headed to the local bookstore, which just happened to be a Walmart, and picked up all seven GIANT books. My jaw dropped when I saw how long the first one was and when I saw the Goblet of Fire I almost started crying it was so big! The ride home was quite glum as I came to terms with the fact that I would not be watching the movies anytime in the near future. When I finally got home I set the books down on my shelf where they sat for a very long time collecting dust. Soon after I think as motivation my dear loving parent bought all the movies up to the Order of the Phoenix, but I just saw it as a tease. So to counteract their little scam I tried to throwing the books in the garbage.
After many heated arguments and tears one day I was just sitting in my room dead bored while my grandparents were visiting and I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and by some fluke I actually fell in love with it. I read the first few pages intrigued until falling into basically a reading stupor I rarely left my room and always had my head in that book. While reading the book I realized how much of the story was left out in the movie and I was enraged. I moved on to the second one and was once again engross while also being enraged at the left out details in the film.
The way I learned to read was excruciating and tearful. I literally just did not have the attention span to sit there and read a whole book. I would go about two sentences before falling over from boredom. So day by day I would set timers a little bit longer to help me read a little more. My mom helped me lots by showing me how to pronounce the big words and setting reading goals for me. As I reached these goals I became more and more confident in my reading skills, which overall helped a lot as part of my unwillingness to read came from not wanting to sound stupid. I still did not like it but i powered through it. I was set on watching the movie so little me read every word on every page of each chapter of the novel. I moved slowly but surely and when I eventually made it through an entire book I was so overjoyed with my achievement. Words I used to stumble over soon began to read smoothly and I could understand what words meant without pouring over a dictionary looking for a definition. By the time I reached The Order of the Phoenix I was not even feeling burnt out. Which was weird because I have always bored quickly.
Through reading I was able to understand more of the world both reality and non-fiction I realized that it was not even half as bad as I had thought, I actually loved to read. I spent hours in both school and home trying to improve my reading skills. My teacher would give us timed oral reading tests once a week and I always wanted to score better than the last time. So basically I was set on being the best reader in the world. Each week the passages got a little harder but I still powered through them. I gained confidence with this new found ability. I liked being able to briefly leave the real world for somewhere magical. This new found love I thought would end after reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but it did not. I found myself picking up random little novels and reading them from start to finish. This wasn’t only a surprise to me but to my parents and teachers. I read through a lot of things it taught me a lot, I gained knowledge and culture and learned a handful of amazing lessons through my learning how to read.
Now here I am a college freshman learning how to read, AGAIN. During high school I didn’t read at all except for Catcher in the Rye my junior year and maybe some pages of a history textbook. I remember going to pick up a book the summer after graduation and just being so overwhelmed looking at the first page. During high school I wrote a lot but reading just took up so so so much time so I just didn’t even. Now I’m here forcing myself to finish reading homework articles and class readings and after five weeks of it I’m already doing a lot better, and funnily enough what’s helped me out most is re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.