As a child, one of the punishments my mother doled out was a ban on reading. Didn’t do chores as required? No reading for three days. Forgot to do homework for class? No pleasure reading for one week.
Here’s how my mother taught me how to read. Even at the level where Peter and Jane books had only one word per page, she would only teach one page.
First day, Peter.
And then she would tell me stories based on the picture in the facing page. When the story was done, the book would be closed and no more would be allowed until the next day.
My mother kept me in suspense. And I was always craving more, more, more stories. My brain was forever going, “And then what happened?”
In my family, reading has always been positioned as a pleasure, a privilege. Something I get to do, not something I have to.
And since being able to read on my own, I have never been able to stop.
In primary school, I used to play truant… to go to the library. In high school, one of the things I was disciplined most for was reading storybooks under my desk during class.
They say that forbidden things are the most attractive. My love for books has only grown.