My elementary school had a program in its library that would quiz you on its books and if you answered correctly you'd get prizes. They had a lot of good abridged versions of Wells and Poe and Jack London &etc., but I also remember the weird little Star Wars books they made for kids way back when. That habit carried forward, so I guess a little positive reinforcement can go a ways.
Yes, I also grew up with book quizzes in school (called Accelerated Reader, or AR). Not sure if I actually enjoyed them though; they kind of made me mad at the fact that my book-reading was turned into a competition (being a high scorer was a big deal), but I think that's because of my own problems with competitiveness (another issue entirely), and it's good to hear that those types of quizzes did have a positive impact on others. And I'm not sure how or why I got into reading, but I just did somehow. One of the walls in my bedroom as a kid was entirely a bookshelf, so they were always around. It was structural, and genetic, I guess.
I can't remember a time when I didn't like books, even before I could read I would pour over them, but I remember my love of writing started when I was eleven. I gave up for a while after all my work got deleted in a computer crash but I started again 2-3 years ago with parody fanfictions and I've done a lot since then
I've been told that from the time I was a teeny tiny baby, my mom read to me for hours every day, so I guess that's where reading got started (thanks mom). I remember distinctly that the first books I ever LOVED were the Junie B. Jones books. Instead of money from the tooth fairy, I would get a new Junie B. Jones book! From then on, it just slowly formed into writing. I have really, really cringey poetry from when I was in the second grade saved on a hard drive somewhere!
I have always had vivid dreams and nightmares, and when I was a kid, they used to be night terrors where I would scream and sleepwalk. So I would often sneak into my parents' bed and my dad would tell me stories until I fell asleep. I think from there, I gained a love of story telling and reading, and I would even make up stories of my own to present to my (very patient) parents or to collect in my notebooks. I have memorable books in my life, but I don't think anything started that love for reading and writing quite as formatively as those childhood experiences!
I wish I remembered a specific moment that clarified my love for reading. Instead all I remember is my parents reading me a story almost every single night, and once I learned how to read I just never stopped. As far as specific books go, three beginner readers series will always hold a special place in my heart as ignition to my reading fire. Mr. Putter and Tabby, Henry and Mudge (both by Cynthia Rylant), and Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley.
No one in my family is a "reader." I have no idea how I became so voracious. I hate to admit, but it started as a challenge to read the book before I watched the movie version. "White Oleander," "Angelas Ashes" ect...
I have been reading and writing since I learned about letters. I remember 'reading' the book "Cookie Soup" (it's a Sesame Street book about Cookie Monster) but I couldn't really read at that point. I just knew the words from memory because I asked for the book every other night. I was reading beyond my level pretty quickly. Over a school break I took home our green reader and read through all the stories, did all the worksheets relating to each story, and didn't have reading homework for the rest of the year. My teacher was either impressed or distressed that I'd done this. It was hard to tell. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil and make letters. Maybe I was dissatisfied with the literature around me and wanted to make stories for myself, but I can't remember a time before writing. The amount of notebooks from those old days is staggering.
Oddly enough my passion started after I finished school. My problem was that while in undergraduate I focused more on trying to take the easy classes rather than the classes that would have probably been much more interesting so I resisted reading and writing because I didn't have much interest in those classes. Once I graduated and I had free time to pick up the books I actually wanted to read, I fell in love.
For me it was my second grade teacher reading Harry Potter to the class. It was such a visceral experience I'll never forget, and I just hope that teacher knows how much she's changed my life.
Vampire Academy was one of my favorite series when I was I was a kid, and it still is. I can't really remember what sparked my love for reading, but I think part of had to do with my mom. My mom was always a huge reader, and I think I just wanted to be like her. Reading Harry Potter and Eragon also really sparked my interest.
At my school, we got a book catalogue once every month or so. My mom told me to just circle whichever books I wanted and she would buy them. My parents invest so much in me at a young age! Calvin and Hobbes kept my rapt attention for hours. There was also a series called My Life As.. by Bill Myers. It was my first "chapter book" series!
As a kid, the Animorphs series really made me a reader. When I was 24 I discovered the writing of Henry Miller (I've since moved on) and it was like nothing I'd ever read before. I was so inspired that I picked up a pen.
What always inspired me to love reading when I was younger was the praise I got for doing it. Whenever I would read something “above my level”, all of the adults would be surprised and delighted in my apparent ability. I continued reading more and more difficult things, essentially for the attention. The same with writing-I kept working harder and harder until I was producing good work that people enjoyed.
I was home schooled from 5th grade to graduation. So my mom would give us a sentence and make us write at least 2 pages using that as our thesis. That was when we realized I was a writer. Reading I always loved but it was when I read a Beverly Lewis book and I was addicted I would stay up for days reading everything and anything. (I was not a normal child)
Percy Jackson series. I never thought reading books could make you laugh before I started reading those. They were awesome. From then, I've grown to now preferring Stephen King, but I would love to go back and read the Percy Jackson series and see how it aged.
I can't remember the exact time - read a lot, reading was important to both my parents, so we grew up with a lot of books. I remember being allowed to read Stephen King's "Tommyknockers" at 10yrs of age, which started my love of horror, and now dystopia.
I read so much into my teens, i remember being super excited when getting creative writing or any writing project at school. Putting extreme amounts of time into these assignments and recieving good grades for them is what initially fed my passion. Now i feel uncertain on where to go. How to learn. Where to find creative minds that wabt to encourage. This site is helping so much though
I was lucky, my mom used to read to me and my older brothers. Being the youngest, my first stories I remember are Narnia and LOTR of all things. I moved on from them to Harry Potter (bit backwards I'd say), the Silverwing Series, and a few other staple fantasies. Percy Jackson was in there too, but a bit later on. Interesting that there a few repeats in this thread and that people are remembering the same series' from their early reading days!
I remember sitting in a creative writing college course I took in response to a desire I had to write better, more compelling material. I never read much as a kid, but I liked stories. And I was shy. So, sitting in this class years later, the first assignment the professor told us to do was write down, on a piece of paper, why we were in her class. Afterward, we folded our answers in half, dropped the slips into a hat, and she actually marked them. "I'd like to learn more about the creative writing process," I wrote. "I don't have a writing background at all, but I'm eager to learn." Typical, student-safe response really. But that's how it started.