I was what you call a "reluctant reader." I saw the grown-ups around me reading and they always looked miserable, mostly because they were reading either the newspaper (full of bad news) or their stacks of mail (full of bills, more bad news.) So, I decided that I wouldn't learn the alphabet. If I could avoid learning that, I could hold on to the carefree, joyous times of childhood forever.
As I entered second grade, still a staunch non-reader (with a bare understanding of the alphabet, which unfortunately, was a little difficult to avert, considering that we sang the alphabet each morning as an opening to our school day) my teachers were starting to talk about holding me back a grade, or maybe even putting me in special-ed.
That Christmas break, my parents bought me a goodly number of books and then, they did something they'd never done before. They read me the first chapter and a half or so of The Wizard of Oz, and just as we were getting to a really exciting part, my dad put the book down and said, "Well, that's it. I guess I'm getting tired of reading. If you want to know what happens, you'll have to finish it yourself." And then he just walked away.
I had to know what happened next! I taught myself to read, forced myself to figure out the maze of words in about a week and a half, and promptly devoured the stack of books my parents had bought me. I went back to school and my teachers were stunned to see I'd skipped about 5 grade levels, pretty much overnight. And I've been a voracious reader ever since.
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