I hated to read books as a child. Nothing could have been a worse punishment to me. Something that is considered an easy and enjoyable task to many, was enough to make me cry at the thought of it. Anything was better than reading endless pages of tiresome books, let alone sitting still for so long.
The thought of spending hours with my nose in a book, when I could be out playing with the other kids on the street or in my room tracing coloring books, appalled me. Why waste my time reading when I could be doing something else, anything else instead?
I really took a liking to math, geography, art and science. Those were hands-on subjects that dealt in numbers and pictures, something I could relate to. It’s no wonder that once I finished High School I wanted to go into architecture, which involved drawing floor plans and structural details. That eventually is what drew me into the engineering and surveying field as an adult, working with maps and calculations.
There were a few books I read as a child that I still remember their wonderful stories to this day. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary, Hoomania, The Call of the Wild by Jack London, and The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. But here’s the difference between these stories and the other stories I read as a youth. I chose these books. They were not assigned reading for grade level or by the teacher. I was not required to do a book report or read a passage in front of the class. They were not associated with a grade at the end nor did not have to take a test on them. I read them because they were interesting and they were my choice to read.
It took a few years of deschooling after High School, after Shakespeare and The Catcher in the Rye, to finally pick up a book again. My first book was The Creator and the Cosmos, a science book written by a Christian apologist who discusses the harmony between science and the Bible. It’s the book that finally opened my eyes into reading. Since then I’ve read probably a dozen books like Dan Brown’s Deception Point, Hugh Ross’s Improbably Planet and others.
The problem with reading now is not the interest, it’s the time. As a mom and homeschooling teacher, my free time is consumed by my family (which is not a bad thing). It’s hard to get the time to yourself to read these books that were not appreciated in youth and with so many books missed it would take months, if not years, of reading to catch up.
But I have a second chance.
I have another chance to read and actually enjoy the books I missed by reading them with my children. There are no tests at the end of the section. No book reports or reading lists or homework. They are not assigned, but chosen.
Since my kids were born, I’ve been reading to them. When my oldest was younger, we read for, no joke, two hours a day. He would pull out books from the shelf and he would sit on my lap and we would read them. We went through a stack of 50 books a day, every day. Now that my son can read well himself he’s reading them to me.
Last night, we read the first chapter of Beezus and Ramona, one of the few books I remember as enjoyable reading as a child. Beezus’s frustration with her little sister’s antics and Ramona’s fascination with Scoopy the steam shovel, bring back memories that a child should never forget, that it’s fun to read when you’re reading for fun.