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Write On: My Reading Rollercoaster by Titus Kvien

Essay by: Titus Kvien

Roseau Community School

Mrs. Didrikson, CIHS Prep-English

I have never been much of a reader despite my mom's desire to share her passion for books. However, as a child I had always been intrigued by the idea that I could just sit in a chair and leave this world through a story. Whether it is exploring the busy streets of New Mouse City with Geronimo Stilton, going on adventures with the Boxcar Children, traveling with Jack and Annie in a magical tree house, or just paging through my Adventure Bible before Awana on Wednesday nights, I wanted to comprehend it all. Growing up has caused me to drift away from the stories printed on paper I was once drawn to; rather, I have gained interest in hearing stories first-hand through talking to people and listening to podcasts among other things.

From an early age, my mom would tell me that we could never have too many quality books. I enjoyed reading them as a kid, possibly because that was all I knew. I would get hooked on a book or series and would wake up every once in a while with my face laying on the pages before I eagerly started wiping the drool off of the pictures. Some of the best experiences I have involving books were my mom's stories. She promotes reading more than most anyone I have known. As a young kid just trying to figure out the world, my mom helped me explore it through good books. Sometimes our houseguests would read to me at birthday parties, playdates, or any time my grandparents would come to visit, and it meant the world to me.

In my early years of elementary school, I was incredibly active and loved moving. This put a quick damper on my reading time both during the day and even late at night before bedtime. In first grade, I experienced the true magic of a story when it comes to life. I can still remember when my first grade teacher, Ms. Pam Lovejoy, dressed up as Miss Viola Swamp from "Miss Nelson is Missing" as she read us that very book. This may have potentially amped up my love for books once again. This was around the time my classmates and I began participating in a program called Accelerated Reader. This was a program that tested us on our comprehension of the book where we earned points based on the length and reading level as well as our test score on the information in the book's text. Similar to most things at that age, it soon became a competition between my classmates and me. There were even prizes given out based on the points we earned. This continued throughout elementary school.

During the summer, that competition went away, and I again started to lose interest in reading...until my grandma decided to pick up my slack! She would bring my sister, Reagan, and me along with our cousin, Tucker, to the public library and read us books. The most memorable of which was "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This book had me tapping my Sketchers in suspense on the tile floor in the library, once again drawing me into this endless page turning mood for a few more months. Then, as I moved into fourth grade, it faded away for one last time. All of my siblings followed suit with me as we got busier and busier and chose interacting with family and friends over alone time with a book.

Every year for Christmas, each member of our family has been given a gift of 'something to read' in hopes that we would rediscover reading as a source of enjoyment. This last year, we all received a daily devotional which is the only thing I will read most days. But the last couple of years I have taken some additional steps to try to get back to reading. For example, I went down and read a Christmas story to our elementary students last year. That was a very fun experience that opened my eyes to the possible joy of reading once again.

Recently, I have made a big move over to gaining information by listening to podcasts. Whether they are political, informative, or just for fun, I find it easy to listen to them while working or driving my siblings around town. I am also a very outgoing person in my school and community. I love talking and interacting with people, both telling stories and listening to people and their stories. The personal connection I have with other people has trumped and overcome my interest to just read through printed pages.

Although my reading experiences have been overall enjoyable, I have had many ups and downs in what I would call a reading rollercoaster. However, I have always remained interested in gaining knowledge and skills in whatever form I may receive them.

Top 5 Book Recommendations:

• unPHILtered by Phil Robertson

• Not in It to Win It by Andy Stanley

• Fighting for Life by Lila Rose

• Dear America by Graham Allen

• How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps by Ben Shapiro


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