Wednesday, June 25, 2014

5 Things That Made Me a Reader

I've been going through my old emails, cleaning out the account, and I ran across this that I wrote for James Preller's Fathers Read blog.  As I read it, I realized that it might make a pretty good post here and maybe start some conversation.  I have 5 things, but most of us can pin point one or two events that turned us into readers.  What are yours?

5 things about me as a reader:

1. One of my earliest memories of reading is fourth grade. My teacher Mrs. Moore read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud to us. I was so taken by the story that I talked about it at home all the time. I come from a family of readers, so my parents bought me a copy as a gift and my mother and I took turns reading it aloud to one another. It's still one of my favorite childhood memories and I'm sure it's a large part of where I am today, sharing books with kids for a living.

2. I grew up in a small town, but we had a great library. In summers, my neighbor, Susie, and I would walk to the library at the beginning of the week, check out a stack of books, and walk home. We'd spend a large part of each day sitting on my front porch reading. The next week we would walk to the library, exchange our books and start all over again. We did this without any sort of prize offerings or other incentives, just because we loved books. My favorites were the junior biographies. I must have read every one on the shelf, some of them several times. It introduced me to George Washington Carver, a man I am still amazed by to this day. I still love to read a good biography.

3. My family of readers goes back a couple of generations. My grandfather, Pop Davis, lived with my family for several years before he passed away. He was a reader! He loved westerns and baseball. On summer evenings he could be found sitting in his chair reading a book, listening to one baseball game while watching another. He was truly a multi-tasker and an example of a man who loved to read.

4. My father is also an avid reader. Growing up he read when he could, always pouring over the local news, squeezing a book in when he had time, but always encouraging my sisters and I to read. Today, in retirement, he has kind of taken over my trips to the library. He and Mom make at least a weekly trip to the library, usually focusing on an author. They will check out everything by an author, read it, trade it, and then return them. Typically they won't move on until they have finished everything available by the chosen author. To this day they are great examples of readers and book lovers.

5. My current reading habits revolve around finding things for the library. Occasionally I slip an adult book in, but mostly it's kid stuff. It is interesting how books for kids have evolved. They are much deeper and better written today. Kids today are much more sophisticated then Susie and I were. They have higher expectations than we did and authors are competing for their attention. We didn't have video games, internet, cable television or the level of organized sports that kids have today, so books provided our entertainment.

I realize now that this list isn't so much about me as a reader, but a history of what made me a reader.


  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory helped make (or keep) me a reader, too, Bill. In 7th grade I wanted to practice my newly acquired typing skill, so I copied it out. It never got old for me :-)

  2. How can I work with you for 17 years and learn so much about your reading life on your blog.? I love knowing the history of your reading life. Wouldn't it be fun to share in our classrooms or even as a staff about our reading life. I think our amazing librarian should consider that idea for the first rotation at the library. Just saying.