Dear Avid Reader,
You are an explorer, adventurer, searcher, seeker, traveler and reader. Books are your passion. They take you places, make you feel things and make your mind whirl. I too have this same desire to read. Unfortunately, school and work have consumed my life lately. Leaving me no spare time. As I let go of the past time I so long for, I wonder to myself, why? Why books? Why me? Where did this love for reading come from. Lev Semenovich Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, developed the sociocultural theory. This theory explains how the interactions children have with more knowledgeable members of society has an important influence on their development. Vygotsky believed that the experiences a child has in his/her life, from conception until death, have an impact on how that child makes sense of and learns about the world. One way Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory can be tested is by studying a child’s early experiences with reading. When I began analyzing my personal encounters with reading at a young age, I noticed that Vygotsky was right. My positive experiences with reading have made me enjoy reading to this day.
The first time I was exposed to reading I was around the age of three. My mother was the first person who read to me. She would read stories to calm and relax me before I went to sleep. She primarily read nursery rhymes, which she had memorized just about rhyme in the book. Although she knew all of the words, she still showed me the pictures that were found in the large nursery rhyme book that was kept in my room. I found enjoyment in hearing the nursery rhymes. They flowed smoothly when the words were spoken out loud to me. I soon found myself constantly picking up the nursery rhyme book and wanting my mother to read more.
My instant love of reading became stronger as the years went on. Before I knew it I was learning to read myself. I imagined myself being able to read stories just the way my mom did. As I began learning to read in kindergarten, my family was very supportive in helping. My mom and dad would practice reading with me all of the time. I particularly remember when my mother and I would pick out a story and play our favorite reading game called bump reading. The game means exactly what it says. I would read one page and I would bump my mom to cue her that it was her turn to read the next page. The bumping continued on every page until we finished the book. Nothing was more rewarding then finishing a page and getting to nudge my mom to continue. This game made reading fun and alive for me, especially when my mom would bump me to continue in the middle of a sentence. This bond of reading together not only strengthened the parent and child relationship we shared but it has also played a key role in my learning.
Along with my mom and dad playing and important role in my reading experiences, my younger sisters did as well. At the age of 6 years old, being the only sibling in school put me at an advantage. Among my sisters, I was the only one who was able to read at the time. Soon I took over my mom’s job of reading to my younger sisters. Before I knew it, they were constantly asking me to read their favorite stories to them. They thought it was so cool that their big sister could read.
Several years went by and my three sisters were now all able to read just like my mom, my dad and me. Now the bump reading game between my mom and I soon grew to include my sisters as well. The game became even more enjoyable because, unlike when the game was only played with two people, now we never knew when we would be getting bumped to read. Along with the bump reading game, my sisters and I always found ways to enjoy reading even when we did not know it. One day, my mom brought us home some old reading series books that her elementary school was no longer using. We looked through the set of seven books in about one week. There were so many stories and pictures that made our imaginations run wild. One particular form of writing struck our attention quickly. It was a play. My sisters and I were soon busy turning our living room into a theater stage. We soon made the room look exactly like the setting in the play, or at least we thought so. Next we were at work getting into character, reading and reciting our lines, and finding our costumes. Finally, we put on the performance for our mom, dad, and grandma. After we had performed every play in the books we moved on to more advanced plays. We soon figured out that every movie we owned on DVD had a script and could be turned into a performance. Our next project involved writing down the subscripts from movies and then performing them. This took a lot more work. We would sit in front of the TV, pause a movie with the captions on the bottom of the screen, read the words, copy them down, and then act it out. My sisters and I really did find ways to making reading come alive.
Time flew by very quickly and before I knew it, I was soon in high school. Reading was still a big part of my life. Not only did my school work revolve around reading, but most of my activities did as well. I was a member of the forensics and reading competition teams. Along with these activities I still had a desire to read and perform plays, so I also joined the drama club. My involvement at reading had reached a peak during high school.
Today, I am still constantly reading, and I enjoy it. I may only have time to read textbooks for school, but to me they are just as satisfying as a novel. My textbooks are full of endless amounts of knowledgeable information I will use in my future career. This makes reading interesting and fun for me. All of my life my reading experiences have been made entertaining and enjoyable. From bump reading with my mom, to reading and performing plays, and to currently reading textbooks, every experience has shaped me into the reader I am today. I have learned so much from reading, even when I did not intend to. Vygotsky was right, a person’s life experiences do have an impact on how he/she makes sense of and learns about the world. Even though my reading experiences have come to halt, that does not mean yours has to. Never stop, find the time, make time, and always remember your passion and love for a book.
A once avid reader