Monday, May 7, 2012

"I can't read"

Those are words I often used to tell myself growing up because I did not read as well or as fast as my peers.  My lack of confidence in reading often frustrated me and when oral reading was allocated in class at school or at church I hoped I would be given advance warning so I could recite the words and practice any that I may find difficult and stumble over. 

As a result of my own lack of confidence in my reading ability I was not great at spelling and am now so very greatful for spell check.  I admire those who write so eloquently and believe they must have a great love of books that has helped to shape their rich language. 

My mum is a good reader as is my husband, and sisters in law (actually there are quite a few great readers in my extended family but I am not one of them) secretly I envy them and their ability to read such long books.  I remember one Christmas not too long ago I was completely stunned when one of my sister in laws was able to read a book she had just been given all the while participating in various conversations going on in the room (which by the way I have trouble keeping up with one conversation when the extended family is all together let alone more than one!  And to read would I need silence if I didn't want to get distracted and have to read the same sentance over and over several times).

Last Sunday night returning from a church leadership training I was speaking with one of my traveling companinons how I felt I couldn't read (or rather had only ever read two books of length cover to cover) and she explained her husband felt the same until she had given him a John Grisham book.  "It's not that you can't read, it's just that you haven't found the right book for you!"  She then went on to say she had recently been loaned a book that came with good reviews by a friend, after reading for a few pages she found that it didn't excite her so returned it to her friend,  "there is nothing wrong with that - if a book doesn't grabyou, you don't need to waist your time laboring through it - find somthing else that does excite you".  To me it was refreshing to hear that not every book will grab you and I was excited to think that maybe my lack of interest wasn't all me - maybe I just hadn't found the 'right book'.  When I dropped of my traveling companion she handed me two books to 'test'.  I was told to take my time and if they didn't excite me that's fine - "I will just give you some more to try". 

That was last Sunday, when I brought the books home hubby looked at them and then me.  "they are for me to read" I told him, he gave me a look "okay" he said a little disbelieving "what" I asked "well its just that the only books I have seen you read since we have been married have mostly had pictures"  Its true I thought - of the books I have mostly read they have been craft/ quilting and interior design books and magazines and of them very few I had actually read.  I mostly looked through them for ideas and inspiration.  Late Monday night I selected one of the books to read 'Someone knows my Name by Lawrence Hill' and was captivated (I had never felt like it before - I actually wanted to continue reading to find out what was going to happen).  I didn't read the blurb just jumped in and last night I finished it.  All 479 pages injust 6 days.  I couldn't believe it.  To me it was a HUGE accomplishment.  Completing the book has given me confidence, I will no longer tell myself that "I can't read" because I can and I did and am proud of my achievement.  It just goes to prove that it is never to late to try something new or that we believed we couldn't acomplish.  All we need to do is give it a go (what ever it may be) - if it doesn't grab us thats fine we just need to try something else until we find something that does excite us.  

It is difficult for me to be so open and share this about myself but I do so in the hope that my story may in some small way help someone else. 

Ps.  Know any good books I can try? :D  


The Kings said...

That's great Clare. I used to LOVE reading as a teenager and then found it too hard to read when I was a young Mum. I now have to have a really good book to get into it again. I just read 'Heaven's Here' by Stephanie nielson and LOVED it. I think you would too.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for your new found love of reading. When I was a kid I was never interested in reading, I remember in primary school not even wanting to get out a book in library because I wasn't interested. When I was 11 my cousin introduced me to Baby sitters club books and I read two a day after school because I enjoyed them so much. It opened a new world to me. I really think it is all about finding the right book. I have found the same with my children that can read, they are really interested if they like the book, and will read until it is done, but if they are not interested in the story, they will never read it. I'm really happy for you as I have spent so many enjoyable hours reading books I got lost in.
If you like a particular author, you can often find comparative authors, they used to have it at the library, but you could probably google it.

Makayla said...

That's great Clare! :)
I LOVED reading when i was younger, i am so busy with school and things now and only read photography books - which have lots of pictures. I think it is definitely important to find a book that interests you, and grabs you. Just because someone else loves it doesn't mean that you will too.
Have you read the Hunger Games? There's a lot of hype about them at the moment and they really are good. I liked them because they weren't too heavy, and were sort of an easy read. You might enjoy them :)

melandpeter said...

I had no idea you weren't a reader Clare and I was thrilled that you had such a great experience with this book. Your friend's advice was very wise about you simply not finding the right books yet! So so true. When my students would struggle with reading we'd work really hard on finding a book that would grab them. That is often the hardest part. "someone knows my name" reminds me of a brilliant book you may like - kinda the same era and similar racial themes etc. It's called "Secret Life of Bees." It's a tear jerker but great. What was it that you particularly loved about the book? Then i can reccommend more. xxx

Sarah said...

I like to read, but dont really have too much extra time these days! I used to hate reading out loud in class as I was VERY shy, so when it was my turn, I used to read that fast to get it over and done with that everyone used to complain that they were lost LOL!

Glad you found something you enjoyed. By reading books, you will find your spelling will improve too.... goodluck x

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