“How I Learned to Read”

We received some wonderful entries in our “How I Learned to Read” sweepstakes, which was part of our Read Early, Read Aloud campaign. Thank you to everyone that submitted stories! View entries and excerpts from some of the contestants below. Full details HERE.

“HOW I LEARNED TO READ” STORIES:

The very first book that I read to my child is Guess How Much I Love You, a British children’s book written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram.

I initially gave an identical Guess How Much I Love You cardboard book to my husband when we were still dating, and when I gave birth to my daughter at 6 months, she had to stay at the NICU until she reached 37 weeks. I felt that the book says how great love we feel for her so we got her own cardboard book of her own of Guess How Much I Love You. Every day from early morning until past midnight I would stay and be with her and just keep on praying and reading the book hoping she would feel and hear how much we love her and for her to hold on and fight. She is 5 now and up to this day she loves reading and having the story be read to her.

My daughter loves books so much that we never leave any library or bookstore without reading a bunch.

– Givenchy Areola

I learned how to read when I was 5 1/2 years old. My Grandmother taught me to sound the word out and to spell it out to her when I got tired or frustrated. She made me read chapter books and the Bible out loud when I had winter or summer vacations from school, so I wouldn’t miss a beat. When we went out to restaurants, she made me read what I wanted off the menu and its contents out loud as well. She’s 86 years old now and she now has severe Alzheimer’s disease but I will not forget those moments we had and I’m truly grateful.

– Honeylore Mendez

We have been reading to our daughter since the day she was born. The first children’s book we read to her was Where’s My Cow? by British author Terry Pratchett. It involves a lot of animal noises and now, almost three years later, she loves it still and can almost read it by herself as she knows the story so well. Another favorite is Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. I remember this was one of the first books I read as a child once I could read by myself and I know my daughter will enjoy it, too.

– Sarah Adamson

What was the first book that I read to my child? One Hundred Years of Solitude. My daughter was still in my womb and my husband would read aloud for her. After she was born, she would stop crying, lay still and enjoy listening to her dad reading. This book tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women — brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul — this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Now my daughter is 28 months and books are her most favorite things in the whole world!!!

– Alma A. Rodriguez

As the seventh of nine children, my folks had pretty much gotten tired of kids by the time I came along. They left me in the care of my older siblings until I was old enough for kindergarten, then handed me over to the overcrowded and understaffed school system. Fortunately for me, I had an inquisitive mind. By the time I was 4, I’d figured out what letters were and somehow put it together that they told stories. By 5, I’d devoured all the children’s books in the house and was thrilled to discover more books in kindergarten. Since I was quiet and unassuming, the teacher left me to myself as she coped with those who clamored for attention. I gloried in reading as it carried me away from my dreary, lonely existence into a vast universe of knowledge and interesting stories. The second fortunate thing that happened to me was the school librarian. She noticed right away that I could read and, whenever I visited, she’d help me choose skill-appropriate reading material. By the end of kindergarten, she and I had a secret – I was reading on the 4th Grade level. Throughout my elementary school years, she was my real teacher, opening doors far beyond what I could have reached without reading. I’m forever grateful to Mrs. Pollard for her gift of knowledge through reading.

– Daa Mahowald

I am a mother of a 3-year-old active, beautiful and exquisite child. His name is Jeremy and he is 43 months old and will be entering preschool next year. The way that I am teaching Jeremy to read is a little different in a creative way. Ever since he was in my womb, I would read to him aloud. I am a Director at an inclusive preschool and I began to read to him so early in order for him to love the process of reading. Now that he is a toddler, I read to Jeremy when he using the restroom. As he sits in the toilet seat, he opens the book and begins to name the pictures he sees and then hands me the book to read it for him. I think my son enjoys being read while using the restroom as it is a quiet place to be in. Therefore, in our bathroom I have a basket full of books where daily he uses. Jeremy is beginning to blend phonemes and loves to grab books from the library. He will see the first letter of the word and make the sound of it. I hope this story helps, as reading could occur even in the weirdest place ever, the toilet seat.

– Sandra Flores

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