Sunday Salon: Earliest memory of reading


Reading (along with things like counting and, oddly, knitting) is one of those things I don’t remember learning to do. My mother has always been miffed at the school report that came back after my first ever term at school saying how well I was progressing with my letters – since she knew she had sent all her children to school being able to read, write and count.

Both parents tell stories of how my father used to read us stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, try and skip a few pages, but us children always spotted it and made him go back and read the bit he missed.

My sister – 3 years older than me – had a decent library and was forever telling me to read certain books of hers, so I had read more Piers Anthony books by the time I was about 10 than I care to count.

I dont know what memory comes earliest – I do remember reading Charlotte’s Web and crying at the ending.  Charlotte Sometimes is also a book I remember reading as  a child, and stayed with me well into an adult


What’s your earliest memory of reading?

10 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Earliest memory of reading

  1. It is hard to be sure about early memory but I do remember where I was when I first realised I could read the words of, I think, The Little Red Hen. I was with my mother and grandmother in our living room and it suddenly dawned on me that I recognised individual words. I was a ou 3 and, like you and your sister, a stickler for parents reading every word with no skipping! I wonder what this says about the learning process and the importance of repetition and favourite stories.


    • I think it’s very much a level of comfort for a child in what must be a continually changing world for them. It’s nice to know that at least something doesnt change!


  2. Earliest memory would be from when I was about six. On Fridays we got to choose something from the school library and to spend a few hours reading on our own, I have no idea what I read but I do recall the delight of seeing so many choices.


    • I do remember going to both the local library and the “big” one in town, and spending hours in both, even if we didnt check any books out! I am in a somewhat lucky position of having enough books in my house to not warrant a visit to the library to get books out, but I still occasionally visit the new library in birmingham simply to make use of the space


  3. I remember very clearly the satisfaction that came with reading “The Little Red Hen” all by myself for the first time and going off to announce the momentous event to mother! I’d forgotten about the Piers Antony phase, but I still love Science Fiction. Books that stay with me from childhood? “A Little Princess” Frances H Burnett, ” The Hobbit” Tolkien and all the philosophy disguised as otherworld adventure in Ursula K LeGuin.


    • There’s one I read – could have been an Aldiss (or a P. K. Dick) – which was a short story where a man went on the run after finding about time travel and kept running into himself just before the other version died a horrible death. Has always annoyed me that I can never remember the author or the title.

      For some reason I always think of Roger Moore, as it sounds remarkably similar to the film “the man who haunted himself”


  4. I can remember surprising everyone by reading words on a cereal box when I was just barely speaking. The written word has always been part of my life, too.

    Here’s my Sunday Salon. I’d love to have you stop by!


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