Learning and Re-Learning to Read

According to my grandmother, I took forever to learn how to read. And my next siblings. Travelgirl and my brother essentially taught themselves. I don’t remember it quite that way although I don’t remember much about that at all except my brother and I laboring over those obnoxious “Bob” books.

Mom read out loud quite a lot during the early years of homeschooling when we used 5-in-a-Row which is a program based on using wonderful children’s books with gorgeous illustrations and charming storytelling. Dad read at least the Kirsten and possibly the Felicity books to me. Mom probably read Little House out loud also, certainly the illustrated ones; I don’t remember ever not knowing about this series.

Mom read Little Women to us during my preteen years. Dad read Narnia to us twice during my childhood and preteen years, and he made us read Lord of the Rings before we could watch the movies (okay, he let us start the movies before we finished, but we did finish). We had one set, and Travelgirl finished first. I raced my brother since we ended up reading at the same time. I was about 13, he was 9. I guess that says a lot about my reading abilities.

A year or two later I had a reading melt-down. I suddenly wondered if I was truly reading when I read silently. I basically couldn’t read silently after that. I read. every. single. word. out loud (my siblings said that I thought that I had to read every period). All my school. Reading was no longer fun, so I gave up reading for leisure and took to skimming all the books I found interesting. I think I might have read a few books in total during this period, like Pride and Prejudice, but most of these I read for school (we still used some programs calling for whole books; think Charlotte Mason method). This issue lasted most of my teen years.

When I was 18 or 19 some young people at our church started a book club, and I joined in although I’m not sure how many (if any) assigned books I read. We had such interesting games and conversation. Most of these people were readers. They introduced us to Goodreads. I began to persevere and truly read books more often. I moved closer and closer to reading in my head like a normal adult. Mouthing the words does still happen though. I got my own library cards, and for the last several years have almost constantly had books checked out.

Excellent books and serious readers (family, acquaintances, and bloggers) have always surrounded me. I’ve always loved the book world even while I struggled psychologically with reading. Now, I just struggle with discipline!

How was your progression to bookworm? Were you always one or did you discover the love of reading more recently?


  • Catherine

    I read LOTR when I was 12 or 13 too – but I've picked it up a couple of times more recently and I really struggle now! Was always a big reader but think being read to as a kid and having family and friends who read really makes a difference 🙂

  • Gray Marie

    I had three major eye surgeries when I was younger that held me back quite a bit when it came to learning. I despised reading until I was nine, and then something just clicked and I started reading at a high school level.

    I'm sorry about your struggle, but I'm glad you're getting better, that's so inspiring!

  • Livia Rachelle

    Yeah, I think it does. I grew up reading in a family of readers in a social group of readers and now in a blog world of readers. I'm always at a bit of a loss when I come up against people who don't read.

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