Have you ever asked yourself the question “Where would I be without reading?”. Reading is something that my parents wanted my sister and me to love and be good at as we began preschool. My mother would sit down each night and read a bedtime story. Her reading helped broaden my mind and learn more about the world at an early age. As soon as I was old enough to talk, I began attempting to read by myself. Reading is not just reading books because you are told to, reading is the key to learning, and creating a mental picture of the world around us. The foundation of all learning is reading. Without it, our world quickly becomes limited to what is close to us. As I think about my earliest experiences of learning to read, I remember my mom taking my sister and me to check out books at the public library. My mom was a teacher. She wanted us to love reading and realize how important it was to our future. When I walked into the library for the first time, I became overwhelmed by the many books. My mom took us upstairs to the children’s section. Bright colored tables and chairs, bean bags, and stuffed animals filled the room and posters lined the walls. My mom allowed my sister and me five books each. I was only four, so picture books caught my eye. The first book I chose was, Eric Carle’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I loved the way the colorful pictures filled the pages. I couldn’t wait to get home and read the book with my mom. Our nightly routine consisted of my sister and me piling into bed and waiting for my mom to come and read with us. That night when my mom came in, I was already waiting for her. I loved to use my imagination and guess what the caterpillar was doing on each page. After that, we would read the book together. My mom always included me in reading. She would let me read the small words I had memorized on my own and then we would sound out the big words together. It was so much fun to learn the words and then go back and read the page by myself. I felt pride when I could read almost the entire book by myself. Now that I am older, I see reading as a way to help broaden my future for travels, college, and my career. Reading takes people places they may never see in person. My family has traveled to several different places in my lifetime. I have always lived in a small town named, Sand Rock, Alabama. As Oprah Winfrey stated in her 2004 acceptance of the United States of America Global Humanitarian Award “As a young girl in Mississippi, I had big dreams at a time when being a Negro child you weren’t supposed to dream big. I dreamed anyway. Books did that for me. Books allowed me to see a world beyond the front porch of my grandmother’s shotgun house and gave me the power to see possibilities beyond what was allowed at the time: beyond economic and social realities, beyond classrooms with no books and unqualified teachers, beyond false beliefs and prejudice that veiled the minds of so many men and women of the time” (Kniffel). I am certainly not Oprah, but I feel a connection to this statement. Reading has helped me to see that I can have a future outside of Sand Rock. The world extends beyond our town limits. Through reading, I can learn about careers in medicine and what parts of the world are in need of the profession I choose. I can pick any place I want to travel and research it through reading. My world does not have to be limited. At the beginning of my essay, I asked the question, “Where would I be without reading?” I cannot imagine my life without it. Reading is not just reading books because you are told to, reading is the key to learning, and creating a mental picture of the world around us. Being able to read provides me with opportunities for a better future. My mom made learning to read exciting and instilled in my early on the possibilities that awaited me through learning to read. She allowed me to develop a love and understanding far beyond my young years. Works CitedKniffel, Leonard. “Reading for Life: Oprah Winfrey.” American Libraries Magazine, 25 May 2011, Chicago. Url.
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