In honor of Dewey’s Read-a-Thon on Saturday, my friend Kathy and I are posting our reading tales, childhood stories about reading. We grew up in the same small town, so we share similar experiences but focused on different ones when writing about our memories of reading. I’m posting Kathy’s piece today. Tomorrow, look for my story featuring the Carnegie public library in our hometown.
A Reading Tale
The love of story leads us all to devote time from our busy schedules to visit a new world, a new time, a new way of life. Because time is precious, it makes sense to maximize our reading experiences as much as possible. I’ve always been a lover of books. What’s your rite-of-passage book story?
I’ll start with my own reading tale.
My mother encouraged me to learn to read as soon I started school. She was a voracious reader, eager for me to develop the same love of books she had. This Chatty Kathy loved every form of communications since my first spoken word, and the written word was no different. I took to it like gravy goes with biscuits. Remember those Weekly Reader magazines (oh, the delicious smell of the ink and paper!)? And the SRA Reading Lab inspired me to read not just for speed, but for retention—thanks to those specialized tests. It was my goal to make it through each level before the appointed time. To this day, I still like to beat deadlines.
I received my first public library card as soon as I started school, and Mom walked us kids to the library several times a month to pick up books. Yes, it seemed like it was two miles uphill both ways, but it was worth it! Our little town of four thousand was blessed with a Carnegie library (built in 1905) full of well-loved books. Mom taught me how to follow my favorite authors, and I read every title they’d ever written. I knew how to thumb through a card catalog and recite the Dewey decimal system as well as I could spell my own name. By the time I outgrew the children’s section, I had read every book and graduated to the “grown-up” shelves.
Now I’ve grown up even more. My love affair for words inspired me to start my own communications firm, so I get to fiddle with words all day long. We promote authors and books, and present programs to various groups, stringing together words we’ve written, edited, proposed, sung, spoken, coached, pitched, and more! Words thrill me. Story entices me—draws me in—beckons to me.
Most avid readers have been caught saying their idea of a time-out from stress and life involves curling up with a good book—claw-foot tub or blazing fireplace optional. Some readers aren’t quite as gung ho to dig in to their “to be read” piles. They want to like to read, but they aren’t quite there yet.
My favorite reading tip is this: Don’t waste time on a mediocre book. When reading for recreation, remember that you aren’t in school anymore. You aren’t being graded for reading every word. So if a book doesn’t appeal to you, put it down! Grab a different one. We have only so much time in life—definitely not enough time to get bogged down with a boring or confusing story line.
Just because a book earned rave reviews doesn’t mean it’s the right book for you, any more than gorgeous size 7 shoes will fit size 10 feet!
Think about your own reading tale. What was it like when you learned to read? What turned you on to books? Do you recall the favorite authors of your early years? Who inspired you to read more? Did reading lists and contests in school motivate you to try harder? What challenges you today in your reading? We all have a story—even a reading story!
About Kathy Carlton Willis
Kathy Carlton Willis (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) gets jazzed serving as speaker for women’s events and writers conferences across the country. She’s known for her practical and often humorous messages full of hope and insight. Kathy enjoys fiddling with words as: writer, publicist, writer’s coach, and speaker at Kathy Carlton Willis Communications.
Kathy’s affiliated with Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, CLASSeminars, and others. She’s published in multiple books, magazines and online publications and has six book projects coming up for consideration with publishing houses in the next month.