My introduction to reading and writing started very early in my life. When I was born I had many medical problems, which left me confined to daily treatments on a breathing machine for hours at a time. While my mom was caring for me, she started teaching me how to read and write. So before I had reached the age of five and entered kindergarten, I already knew my abc’s, could read very basic childrens books, spell simple words, spell my name, and had a basic understanding of sentence structure. These skills had given me a firm foundation and gave me a giant head start above everyone else my age.
Because I had started reading and writing so early, literature became something that I was comfortable with and felt a strong connection towards. As the years progressed through school, homework became more and more common. Never fail, my parents and family friends were always there to lend a guiding hand and stress the importance of a quality education.
The next big leap happened when I was traveling every day for gymnastics practice. Five days a week my father and I traveled two hours a day, to Eugene Oregon for practice. So during the trip there and back, homework and studying was always a priority. Most of the time a family friend would tag along and when that happened I received two solid hours of study time as well as being quizzed for spelling tests. Which to no surprise I did very well on.
Fast forward three years, I am now in the sixth grade. Up until this time I spent many hours reading childrens books and writing short stories, although I did read for my own pleasure, I didn’t really spend a lot of time writing unless it was something that was assigned for school.
One day while I was wondering around my parents house, I found a book that caught my attention. Looking at the book in my hands I realised that this was the thickest book I had ever held, and for some reason I knew that I was going to read it. Holding the book like a lost and found treasure, I showed it to my mom and asked “mom would it be alright if I read this?” After a moment of hesitation (which I would only later find out why) she nodded and gave me permission.
Reading was slow, some of the words I had to look up in the dictionary to find their meaning, but I had no problems being able to follow along and use the words in the book to create a movie within my own imagination. About half way through the book, my teacher at the time gave us an assignment in which we had to choose a book to read, write out a portion of the book, and give a speech about it. Since I was already reading this book, it was a no brainer what my report was going to be on. The only problem I had with my report was being able to find a portion of the book that would be interesting enough for the audience and yet appropriate for the kids my age. Eventually I settled on a couple pages and did my report on those, to which none of my friends even had a clue what I was talking about.
As I turned the final pages with a sense of great accomplishment, I realised that not only had this book been a challenge that I was able to accomplish, but had also been my introduction to book reports, reviews, and later on the dangers of plagiarism. Looking back, I realised that “Follow The River” by James Alexander Thom, had been my transition from reading and writing about children’s books, to advancing me into the world of more advanced literature and novels.