Learning to Read

March 30, 2009
By Jolie Kumin BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
Jolie Kumin BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

When I started pre-K at 3 years old, I couldn’t wait to learn how to read. While my friends were building with blocks and making little houses out of popsicle sticks, I was writing stories in a language partly my own and partly copied from letters I’d seen in books. I’d sit down on the rug in the middle of the classroom and look at picture-books. With the pictures to guide me, I’d guess what the words meant and create my own exotic story. The words seemed to be some sort of secret code that I’d only know once I was old enough and learned what they meant. Until then, I tried to decipher them best I could.

At home, my bibliophile ways would continue. I’d make my mother, Leanne, read me countless books before I went to bed. After I had heard every book in my room, I discovered magazines. It was like getting a new story every month with polychromatic pictures and euphonious sentences. I loved children’s magazines like Ladybug and Highlights.

As I grew older and entered first grade, the secret codes began to reveal themselves as I began to learn to read. I learned about homonyms and heteronyms. To practice, I’d play classroom with my stuffed animals. I’d teach them monosyllabic words that I’d learn to spell that day in school. When I became unsatisfied with teaching my toys, I’d read stories to my little sister, Ani, skipping the more difficult polysyllabic words, knowing she’d never notice.

This wasn’t enough for the little philologist in me, and I asked Leanne enroll me in an after school program my teacher was giving for kids who had trouble reading, even though I didn’t need it. My first grade teacher, Sarah, eulogized my love for reading and writing in my report card and at parent teacher conferences. As I got older, english stayed my strong subject in school, while I had a lot more trouble with subjects like science and math.

Over time the reading material in my room has changed from Ladybug and picture books to Cosmopolitan and romance novels, but reading is still one of my favorite pastimes.

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