Some of the earliest reading memories I have come from reading flashcards with basic words on them, reading closed captions on cartoons (something I still utilize to this day,) and being read to by my mother and preschool teachers. A memory Tremember in vivid detail (which is one of my earliest memories) is sitting in the lap of one of the preschool assistants (an) as she was reading to me. I do not remember what book it was, however, I do remember I was wearing a sweatshirt and my pink snowboots. I have a picture of this in a preschool scrapbook.
Another one of my early reading memories is watching Timon and Pumbaa and singing along to the theme song as I read the closed captions. My mother came in when she heard me singing the word “philosophy” and I gave her a look that said “What is that face for? ” I was always told I was smart by my family (my mother and grandmother in particular, as they were the main people that raised me) and therefore academics played an enormous part in my life, as it still does. I was always expected to make A/B honor roll (which I did) and I do not recall ever really feeling any stress from my academics during that time.
I remember reading lots of medical books and being fascinated by medicinal terms (which I still am) and always told my mother and grandmother I wanted to be a doctor. I was homeschooled for a year after my two years of preschool (1 started when I was 3) and then was tested at my elementary school. I remember reading a small flip-book that had some words on it. Apparently, I read at a 5th grade level, and that was as high as the test went, so I skipped kindergarten and went straight to first grade at the age of five.
The only reading memories I recall from around this time are sitting on a rug while my first grade teacher read from a large-print book. I also won a fifty-dollar savings bond in fourth grade for an essay I did over what freedom meant to me. My mother and my grandmother were the two biggest influences in my life throughout elementary school. They always worked with me to help me grow academically, and reading/reading comprehension was a big part of this. I have always been extremely close to them, especially my mother. As mentioned earlier, I had flashcards and all sorts of other materials to help me learn more.
Throughout elementary school, academics were the biggest part of my life, and because of my awkwardness and social issues, my non-existent social life did not interfere. In fact, my social issues were the reason I was only skipped one grade instead of two. I was always taught to value academics above anything else, so it was the most important aspect of my life. Over the summer, my grandmother would teach me things and prepare me for the next grade. (The summer before fourth grade, she taught me multiplication and the states. ) Some summers, she would teach me other things or simply not teach me at all.
One example of this is the summer before I went to third grade when she taught my cousins and I to play the guitar. Thad little-to-no setbacks in elementary school. In fact, I was always usually ahead of my classmates when it came to reading. It just naturally came easy to me, and I very much enjoyed it. My uncle lived with us for a couple of years, and I discovered video games. I did not read as much, and my mother still blames him to this day for my (very little) decreased interest in reading. However, in middle school, I felt more and more pressured to do good and I started to lose interest in reading and other academia.
My ADHD became worse, and I would lose and forget things constantly, which I still tend to do. (However, as I have become older, I have tried to find more ways to manage this. ) My middle school teachers were very rude and inconsiderate. One in particular that I will never forget was my fifth grade reading teacher. He was a big, burly basketball coach. In fifth grade, I was still immature and very sensitive, and I tended to get upset and cry frequently during school. One day, I was crying for whatever reason, and he yelled at me in front of the class to “Stop crying, grow up, and stop being such a big baby. I was only nine.
This teacher was one of the reasons for my decreased interest in language arts and reading, and I loathed the class. However, I did win a fifty-dollar gift card to Walmart that year from the Shelby County Drug-Free Coalition for another essay wrote. I do not remember the subject topic, however, it was likely about being drug-free. (I spent the money on three video games the next day. ) Around this time, I also became more selfaware of my own social issues and the fact that I was very naive. In an attempt to make friends, I would do anything anyone said to try to make them like me.
This became more of a concern than academics, and my family and I would get into arguments constantly over incomplete homework or bad scores on tests. (“Bad” scores have always consisted of anything under a B for my grandmother and mother. My grandmother sometimes even chides me for B’s, as she says when she went to school the equivalent was a C. ) My first three years of middle school were probably the most miserable years of my life. I wanted to fit in and have friends and also do go academically. Then, a little thing came along called colorguard.
My friend Faith asked me about tryouts, and I said, “Sure, why not? ” My director(s) broke the rules and did not appreciate it when my mother called them out. I did not make it in the next season, so I transferred here to Morristown. The staff are so much friendlier here, and the small class sizes allow for much more one-on-one help. After I came to Morristown, however, my family started nagging me even more to do good in school. What once was “A’s and B’s are okay” turned into the occasional “There is no reason not to be getting straight-A’s. ” I felt more pressure to do good, and less motivation to do homework.
It sounds cliche, but I just could not make myself do the homework. My grades did improve, owever, and I gained somewhat of an increased interest in school. The most significant literary work in my life would have to be the song “You Are My Sunshine. ” Others that have value to me include the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the Kidsongs VHS series, which had educational songs on them, and “House of the Rising Sun. ” My mother would always sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me when I was little and I would sit in her lap as she would sway back and forth make hand gestures.
An example of this is when she would sing “You make me happy. ” She would touch her finger up my neck and stop at my nose. ) I also had a plush wind-up dinosaur that played the song. We have always considered this to be “our” song, and it has more sentimental value than pretty much anything else in my life. My mother would also read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to me and we would make the hand gestures of the letters climbing and falling together. The Kidsongs tapes had short songs on them about various things, and these helped me to learn how to read by reading and singing along with the closed captioning.
As for “House of the Rising Sun,” my favorite thing my grandmother would do when I was little is play the song on her record player as we sang and danced around the living room. It did not help me learn how to read, but it was and still is an important piece of literary work to me. I would consider myself to be a strong reader today. I love reading, as it allows me to escape from any troubles or stress I have in “real life. ” If I am upset or stressed, all I need to do is find a book or start writing.
I sometimes like to write stories, however, around the middle of the story I become bored with writing and usually shorten it about 5 chapters. I do not really read many adventure books. I like realistic fiction that I can relate to and funny stories. I also enjoy reading manga. The thing I love most about writing poetry is that there are no limits. You are not chained to the laws of grammar and standard conventions. I aspire to become a better writer and reader, although I do not want to choose that as my profession. I do plan to still write and read as a hobby, however.