The Reader Inside Us

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?

Throughout the thirteen years of school, teachers would assign reading homework – everything from the easiest of children’s books to the High School required list of Shakespeare, The Scarlet Letter, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Great Gatsby. Nothing made a lasting impression on me. I received my grade and moved on to the things I did enjoy.

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.

Author: Olivia

I am a mom and a homeschooling teacher of two little ones. I am also a Biblical Studies major with a hobby in Creation Science. I love to research Biblical topics and how science and the Bible live in harmony with each other. I learn beside my children when we read, build, and explore with the help of our glorious classroom - God's green Earth!

6 thoughts on “The Reader Inside Us”

  1. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t love to read, but in my family, everyone read everything, Your Grandma has probably told you the same thing. I appreciated your article about your aversion to reading as a young child–and the difference in how you feel when you choose the reading material that you want to learn about. I love learning and it definitely requires reading. At my advanced age of 79 I find my desire to learn grows daily and the subject materials increase and grow. I love following your efforts in teaching your children and feel amazed at your ability and dedication. Don’t ever change–we all love you so very much.

    1. Thanks, Aunt Frankie! Learning never stops, does it? There’s always something new to learn or hobby to pick up… or new book to read. πŸ™‚

  2. I never thought about it much until I read your post. But ir occurred to me that I didn’t enjoy reading what was assigned to me by the teachers but it did not bother me much to read them. But the book I selected were truly the ones that I enjoyed reading.

  3. Reading should be enjoyable but I know it isn’t everyone’s favorite activity. My students’ families are often surprised when they learn that the reading “homework” I assign is nothing more than a recommendation to make time for regular reading. In my classroom, I do select books to use for instruction, but I am blessed to be able to choose from a wide variety of high-interest, quality literature that the kids typically enjoy. Throughout the day, when the kids have completed their work, they have a variety of activities to choose from–free writing, math games, and reading from any book they choose. πŸ™‚

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