If someone asked you point blank who influenced you most as a reader, who would it be? For me, one person clearly stands out from the rest… My mom. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized the amount of energy it takes just to make sure a child’s socks end up on their feet instead of their ears, and how one daily ritual can have life-long effects. This is my open letter of thanks to her:
Thanks for making me a reader.
Thank you for reading to me each and every night before bed for the majority of my childhood. I know now, as an adult, that spare time is hard to come by. But you always made time to give me your undivided attention, which has left an everlasting impact on me.
Thank you for reading some books aloud so many times that you could recite the stories by heart, backwards. When I asked you to read The Berenstain Bears, No Girls Allowed for the 458th time you didn’t hesitate. You put aside your secret intentions of burning it and read it regardless.
Thank you for being patient. I struggled with learning to read and was far behind my classmates the majority of my elementary school years. You worked with my reading teachers and devoted extra time to practicing with me. Even though my pleas of needed glasses, because I couldn’t “see” the words (I have 20/20 vision to this day) were plentiful and unceasing. You saw through my excuses and antics and were nothing but encouraging.
Thank you for allowing me to choose the books I read. You permitted me to read comics such as Calvin and Hobbes, and live in Brian Froud’s fairylands. Whatever my interest, whatever the book format, because my reading selection was large my world was larger for it.
Thank you for giving me books that helped cultivate my everlasting relationship with books as an independent reader. The Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery, Abel’s Island by William Steig, The BFG by Roald Dahl, Black Beauty by Anne Sewell and The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit are a few that come to mind. They touched my heart, they grew my imagination, they are apart of who I am.
As a parent today, I understand why you did it. As a kid, I thought it was a great way to delay bedtime, but now I see how you wanted the absolute best for your children. By providing me a childhood rich in books, it made all the difference. It was the single most important influence to help me evolve into the adult I am today. And now my daughter will have the same advantages in life all because of you. Because, like you, I’ve made it a priority and her life will be better for it.
Thank you for that.
Thanks for making me a reader.
Who influenced you to become a reader?
Rebecca Dunn is a full-time mom and part-time youth services librarian assistant at the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas. When she isn’t chasing her 2-year old, thinking up library programs and storytimes, goofing off on Pinterest, or reading, she enjoys spending time at her blog home, Sturdy For Common Things. You can also follow her on twitter @rebeccazdunn.