Although my childhood was not especially noteworthy, the few things I do recall from it generally concern school and my studies and interactions with children my own age.
I remember spending most of my days in school and then coming home to do homework with my mom. I was a pretty good student and always got good grades but there were definitely some subjects that I excelled in more than others.
I enjoyed reading from a young age and loved going to the library. My mom would take me often and I would pick out several books to bring home and read. I don’t remember having any favorite authors or genres when I was younger but I do remember always being drawn to stories that had some element of mystery or suspense.
As I got older, my reading habits definitely changed. In high school, I found myself reading more non-fiction and less fiction. This was mostly due to the fact that I had to read so much for school and I found myself struggling to find time to read for pleasure.
I also started to become more selective in the types of books I would read. I remember my English teacher assigning The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and I absolutely hated it.
It wasn’t until after I graduated from college and entered the working world that I really started to appreciate reading again. I had more free time and I was no longer being assigned books that I didn’t want to read.
It’s difficult to say when I first started reading, but it had to have been around the time I was in kindergarten and first grade. Because I didn’t go to preschool, my primary interaction with people until then was in Spanish.
Because of this, I was a little bit behind my classmates when it came to learning English. My teacher at the time, Mrs. Juarez, realized this and took it upon herself to help me out. She would often pull me aside during class and have me read aloud to her from a book. I remember being so embarrassed but she was always so patient with me. I think it was because of her that I began to love reading.
From then on, reading has been a huge part of my life. In high school, I took mostly AP and Honors classes which meant a lot of extra reading outside of class. But even when I wasn’t in school, I was always reading something. Books, magazines, articles, you name it. Reading is one of my favorite things to do and I can’t imagine my life without it.
According to my mother, I could remember the letters and sounds of all of them when I was young, and I began to recognize words like ‘see’ and ‘my.’ Mr. Torres, an instructional assistant who would work with me and other bilingual children in class on a regular basis, was undoubtedly the most significant influence in assisting me develop reading abilities.
Of course, his instruction paved the way for my understanding development, but his one-on-one assistance allowed me to establish connections between Spanish language study and myself.
I started to see the power of language. In high school, I had excellent teachers who pushed me to be better. They were Mr. K for AP US History, Mrs. Nguyen for AP English Language and Composition, and Ms. Wilkinson for Psychology. They were passionate educators who made learning exciting, engaging, and relevant. They instilled in me a love of learning that has stayed with me until today.
Through my reading autobiography, I have come to understand the importance of educators in one’s life. Good teachers have the power to change lives forever. They opened my eyes to new perspectives and worlds that I never would have otherwise known existed. For that, I am forever grateful.
I must have been reading simple tales that I soon memorized. The Gingerbread Man or Brown Bear, for example, were most likely how I began to link words, sounds, and pronunciation with each other. Once I felt confident enough to read “big kids’ books,” learning to read gave me a lot of self-esteem.
In high school, I had great English teachers who made me feel that reading and writing were important skills to have. They encouraged me to read beyond the textbook and explore different genres of literature. I’m grateful for their guidance because I might not have picked up books like The Catcher in the Rye or To Kill a Mockingbird otherwise.
I think it’s important for everyone to find pleasure in reading, whether it’s through comic books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, non-fiction or fiction books. Reading can take you to different places and introduce you to new ideas and perspectives. It’s a way to learn about people, cultures and worlds that you might not be familiar with.
I’m so glad that I learned to read at a young age and that I continue to enjoy reading today. It’s something I look forward to doing every day, whether it’s for work, school or just for fun.
Among my favorite book genres were scary chapter novels such as the Goosebumps series, as well as biographies of famous athletes. Nonfiction and folktale are among the least appealing to me because they never really managed to grip me and I was always highly suspicious of such fantastic. Unfortunately, this love for reading did not last long since I grew weary of reading at about the fifth grade and began seeing it more as a duty than a pleasure.
It all started during my fifth grade year when I was assigned to read a folktale for homework. I remember being so frustrated because the book just wasn’t interesting to me. My teacher had told us that we would be tested on the story, so I grudgingly read it, but I just couldn’t get into it. From then on, reading felt more like a chore than something I enjoyed.
As I entered high school, I found that required reading became more and more common. In some cases, I actually enjoyed the books we had to read for class. For example, in my sophomore English class we read The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird. However, there were other times when I would have rather gouged my eyes out than read the assigned material.
At this point, reading had become something that I only did when I was forced to. I never picked up a book for fun and I would have never thought to go to the library on my own accord. Thankfully, my views towards reading changed during my senior year when I had an amazing English teacher who encouraged me to start reading again for pleasure. She loaned me some of her favorite books and showed me that reading could be enjoyable if I found the right material.