When I was four I discovered black marks at the bottom of the pictures in my books. I ran my finger over them in fascination because they were different lengths. When my sister read to me I noticed she ran her finger along them too. I have no idea how or why the black marks resolved themselves into words, but they did. I know the first work I read started with letter "s" something about its shape and sound just clicked and, because I have a warm feeling when I think of it, I bet that word was "sun".
I began to recognise lots of whole words - they were everywhere. I found my words in magazines, comics and the newspapers that lay on the coffee table. I hunted for them to see if I could find them on different pages. Then I noticed I could find them outside the house too. Everywhere. It was amazing: shapes had meanings - who'd have thought?
Of course, I didn't know what I was doing was wrong. My first teacher set me right on this when I started school. She called my parents in at the end of my first week and explained they had done a very bad thing (I remember how confused, and annoyed, they were. They hadn't known I could read. Why would I tell them? Couldn't everyone?) So, my first memories of school: Gerald crying all day, the boy who wouldn't take off the coat he had fastened up to his chin and that reading was bad.
My first teacher laid the perfect foundation to create a truly obsessive reader: she made reading a subversive activity.
My parents told me not to read when she could see! Illicitly, I would sneak off to the Book Corner, having first checked she was engrossed somewhere else. Then I would become immersed in alternate realities that were all the more thrilling because I wasn't supposed to be in them. Dissident status at age 5; I read.
Things never really got much better. Wherever I was:
- getting dressed for school
- on the bus
- walking through the streets
- at meals
- on family holidays
- instead of homework
- as an alternative to sleep
I was reading.
In lots of photos, I was the family member with the rectangular head.I don't like reading, I love it.
All thanks to Mrs Jensen who banned me from reading.
I was wondering: do you love reading?