Isn’t it something to realize there was a time in your life when you couldn’t read?
When labels on boxes or cans in your kitchen just looked like jumbled jibberish. When signs on the road just had a collection of symbols that made no sense. When the books your parents or the storytime person read to you had cute pictures, but the lines under the pictures were just a bunch of letters arranged in a confusing way.
I remember my mom teaching me the alphabet song when I was maybe 3 or 4. I was the first generation to grow up with Sesame Street and Electric Company so I was learning without realizing. But I didn’t really start reading until first grade.
I had learned a few words and such in kindergarten but I wasn’t a reader until Mrs. Kaeberle really started teaching us letters, sounds, words and sentences. Then, there was no turning back.
I gobbled up books the way I’m going to gobble up all-you-can-eat crabs once this quarantine ends (for clarification – that’s a lot). My parents took me to the library once a week and I checked out the maximum.
The Scholastic book order forms came to my classroom a few times a year and I was always the kid taking home a big stack of books that were mine (all mine!).
I would actually be excited about going to bed at night because I could be by myself and read my favorite stories. I was one of those kids who would be reading under the sheets with a flashlight so my parents wouldn’t know I was still awake.
Interspersed with the regular books were comic books. My first comics were the 6-issue comic adaptions of the first Star Wars movie. I still have those comics but they are no longer in what one would call “mint” condition. Actually, whatever the opposite of “mint” condition is, that’s them.
As I grew and my tastes changed, comics became a bigger part of my reading career. I started reading Archie comics, Spider-Man, Superman, X-Men, and a lot of war comics.
By the time I was in 6th grade or so, that’s all I read. Along with the legendary Mad magazine. With the exception of class-assigned reading, all I read for pleasure in high school were comic books. Until I discovered Stephen King, when I was in twelfth grade.
My point is that during many formative years I didn’t really read traditional print books. And you know what? That is just fine. Reading is reading. Some read at different paces, some read at different levels, some don’t even read the words on paper or screens. They prefer to listen to audiobooks. And guess what? That’s reading too! Listening to words, as long as you are comprehending them, is just like reading them on a page.
I still read comics in the form of graphic novels. I no longer read individual comics anymore but I enjoy the Batman collections and stand alone books, as well as some that are written just as stand alone novels like Persopolis, Watchmen (which was originally in serial form), and Maus. I even find myself revisiting some of those classic Archie comic book stories when the mood hits. Sometimes I need a good laugh.
So be it comic books, cook books, cereal boxes or weekly ads in the mailbox, reading is reading. And we encourage everyone to keep doing it.
The library definitely would like to hear from teens in our community…What titles or types of titles would you like to see more of in out collection? We love getting your requests and always welcome more!