A Confession

May 13, 2008
By Nicole Varney, Stevensville, MD

I can hardly remember learning to read. Not many people do since you were only about five. But I remember snippets of kindergarten. I remember learning my ABC’s on my grandmother’s refrigerator with the magnet letters. I remember slowly reading the little picture book that had one sentence on each page with my mother. I remember Mrs. Gambrills, the kindergarten teacher, helping me sound out words. I can remember sitting at my desk in first grade, tongue sticking out and my eyes screwed up in concentration, my hand trembling as I slowly but surely traced the big letter ‘P.’

Those were the days, when everyone was friends, you thought boys had cooties and you were easily entertained with a doll. But at such a young age my attention span was mighty tiny. All we really wanted to do was play. We didn’t want to learn! We didn’t want to sit still! But looking back I am so thankful my parents forced me into it. Reading is one of the greatest gifts. Reading teaches you things, it captures you and pulls you into other worlds and other times.

I may sound like a dork, but reading is one of my favorite hobbies. When I’m upset or angry or scared I read, to escape it all. J.K. Rowling, Scott Westerfield, William Shakespeare are just a few of the brilliant authors who bring me into my happy places. Back in kindergarten when I couldn’t even read Cat in the Hat, I could never imagine reading such large, complex novels. But how could I have known what blessings literacy would pour on me as I sat on the floor in the little classroom listening to some dumb, whimsical child’s story.

I have always been an avid reader. Although I was easily bored in school, at home where I was left to my own devices, I found other worlds. However, at my young age these books were still short and had pictures and were very simple. But by third grade I was reading long, advanced novels. I came to the library so often I had practically memorized the Dewey decimal system!

My best friend in the whole world had a huge influence on me as well. We went to the library together, and shared interests in many genres. After I finished a good book she would read it and vice versa. Every time we went to the mall Borders was a necessary stop. Around the middle of fourth grade I began reading Harry Potter and then I got her into it too. Before we even realized it, we were hooked.

Now, it’s time for a confession, I admit it, I am a Harry Potter fanatic and I am not ashamed. I’m afraid I can’t tell you the entire story of my obsession or I would cause you all to believe that my friend and I are perpetual dorks and I must spare her. Through the years we grew with Harry and grew to love or hate certain characters. This world was real to us and this is where we could escape. It’s funny to look back and imagine what my six-year-old self would do if shown the Harry Potter books. After all they are rather large.

We’ve both read the series many times over and gained so much from it. Our vocabulary as well as our imagination has been stretched to far corners you wouldn’t have guessed. My parent’s think I’m obsessed but they just don’t understand the rush I get when I plunge into my favorite story and fight alongside Harry or play a great game of Quidditch.

Me and my best friend can hang out together and just read. That’s it. We sit next to each other and read to ourselves silently. Even though we aren’t doing anything I always feel so close to her because I know were in the same world sharing the same emotions. We understand each other more because of Harry Potter. We don’t think it’s ridiculous when the other cries because of a character dying or celebrating when Gryffindor wins. We feel each other’s pain, sadness and most of all joy. All because of kindergarten and Harry Potter.

So I just want to say thanks, Mrs. Gambrills and Harry Potter. You kept my world together.

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