How I Became a Better Reader Reading has always been a struggle for me, as far back as I can remember. My clearest recollection was from my elementary years. I have tried many strategies over the years to become a better reader. I can remember the struggle so clearly, and the fact that, in reality, I really enjoyed reading but just couldn't get a grip on how I could read something but never remember what I read. One thing that I remember as a young child is when my parents would read to me every night, and if they didn't, I would throw a huge tantrum. My parents learned in a hurry that they needed to read me a story every night. My Mom and Dad would alternate nights to pacify this love of being read to; it was like a calming effect that, as I got older, I wished I could do for myself.
As far back as I can remember, as a young child, I struggled with reading comprehension. This challenge is what I feel greatly contributed to my dislike of reading. Over time and frustration, reading was the last thing I wanted to do. Not being able to comprehend well was a struggle for me; I felt embarrassed and frustrated. I constantly thought, what's the point of reading if you don't remember anything you just read? I remember in elementary school, when my teacher called on me to answer a question about what we read, I would be totally blank; no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't recall anything about the book. It was so embarrassing, I could just feel the pressure to come up with something, but I couldn't, I was so nervous and uncomfortable, causing my face to turn beet red. I could also feel my heart pounding as if it was beating out of my chest. My whole body felt warm inside, and I would start sweating profusely.
I also recall when my parents would switch off trying to get me to read every night I would refuse unless they read to me, or if it had minimal amount of words and/or pictures. Some nights my parents would take turns reading a page, then I would. I would dread when it became my turn to read because I just wanted them to read it to me. Eventually, they got me to read a whole chapter of the book, The Magic Treehouse, to them and they'd randomly ask me what I just read about, sometimes I would remember but most times I really struggled to come up with any details. My parents would go back and bring up some highlights of the story to see if I remembered, and I would in this situation, but for some reason I couldn't come up with information on my own when asked.
The most influential person in my childhood was my fifth grade teacher at Columbus Elementary, part of the Forest Lake, MN school district, Mr. Overson. He was tall with blonde hair and blue eyes. With all the stress he already had with school and life at home, he was willing to come in on his own time, three days a week. Before school started at 7, he would spend quality time with me to help enhance my comprehension skills. He would have me read short stories...