Words have been a part of my life since I can remember. I have always been an avid reader. I would spend hours in the school library. The teachers there knew better than to try and keep me from the fourth and fifth grade books that I enjoyed. I grew up surrounded by words and writing stories. They were my calm through bullies, long moves, and bad friends. My earliest memory of reading is in the Tyler Elementary School Library. I walked down the aisle, looking for a book to read. I found The Magic Tree House #9, Dolphins at Daybreak. I’ve never forgotten that book. I can see the cover. I sat in the corner of the aisle and read. The teacher left with the class and had to come get me, since I had been so lost in the book, I hadn’t heard them leave. I know I loved reading long before first grade, but it’s the most potent memory I have. This memory has stuck with me because that was the moment I knew I loved reading. It was the moment that I knew I wanted to read everything in the library.
My parents sat with me when I was young and read stories and weaved tales that entranced me with the ability to escape into. It wasn’t long before I was flipping through books, learning the words from them and myself before kindergarten. Reading was an escape that I couldn’t wait to travel through. I wanted the worlds they described to me, the adventures they journeyed, and the dragons that the flew.
These experiences set me up for success for the rest of my life. The next year, in second grade, I had acquired a large set of The Magic Tree House books and won a writing competition that had been held throughout the school. We had been challenged to write a story, and if we won, it was acted out by improv professionals. Mine was acted out while I got to sit in the director’s chair. That is the moment I knew I wanted to be an author. These two memories have made me love English all the more. I can’t imagine a life in which I wasn’t an avid reader who read a dictionary because I ran out of things to read. These moments set me up to become who I am today.