Visiting both mobile and brick-and-mortar libraries as a child turned me into an avid reader and a lifelong learner leading to my earning an Associate of Science degree, a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing in addition to a teaching credential—about nine years of college.
As a child, one of the grade schools I attended was across the street from my parents’ home, which brings me to the cultivation of my imagination. Books!
Reading at home is important too!
However, learning to read wasn’t that easy for me. Soon after starting school, my fate and my future hung in the balance. Experts at the first grade school I attended tested me and told my mother I would never learn to read or write. In those days, there was no term for dyslexia. In fact, the “experts” didn’t know about dyslexia.
Nevertheless, my mother made liars out of those so-called experts and taught me to read at home. How she did it is another story, and it didn’t hurt that my parents both loved to read.
Both my mother and father did not have the opportunity to graduate from high school. The Great Depression and other family tragedies were responsible for both of them dropping out to find jobs and contribute to their financial survival at the age of 14. My mother ran away from home and found a job as a waitress and my father mucked out horse stalls at Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia, California.
Fast forward to me as a child that learned to love reading books, and once a week, a county library bus visited the grade school I attended.
Years later, I worked in the high school library and managed to read sometimes two books a day. It was as if books were feasts for my imagination and soul. I read all the historical fiction I could find on the British Empire, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and American history. Then I discovered science fiction and fantasy, which led to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series. Later, I would add westerns and mysteries to the mix and eventually start reading literature at a much older age. As a child, I wasn’t ready for literature — not exciting enough.
Continued on March 12, 2012 in The Magic of Literacy – Part 2
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.
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