Has the experience of learning to read been studied from a psychoanalytic point of view? ... something I don't recall hearing much about. Odd, as in a literate society, it serves to merge us into the community, and exile us from it; shapes and strengthens the private voice of self-awareness, and chains that voice to a communal language. A primal bifurcating force, both individuating and socializing us. I think of recent posts on Spurious--is this what the writer re-experiences in leaving and reentering the human community as he writes? (for a link, see the following post)
What are your first memories of learning to read? The first book you read on your own? Family legends and personal memories.
A review of The Tin Woodsman of Oz on Counting My Blessings... got me thinking about this. Roused my curiosity... how did other people learn to read?
This was something that left a stamp on the rest of my life... contributed to making my first years in school utterly miserable. Bored to death, punished because I lost my place as we took turns reading in those awful first readers, I learned to experience myself as a kind of resident alien--stamped into my identity forever.
How did you learn to read?
I'd love to put together a collection of accounts. Post in Comments and I'll put them together, copy them into a running series of posts. Or let me know about posts on other blogs and I'll link them.
For me it was the Oz books, though the realization that I could read on my own came to me lying at the top of the stairs with a Donald Duck Comic Book... I ran to my father to show him...
I couldn't have been more than four or five years old. He didn't believe me. Told me I must have memorized the words. For a long time I wasn't sure myself. That rejection, too, a powerful early experience... so much of what shaped my life came from reading.
But it's true...
The Oz books were my Dick and Jane, before I was given Dick and Jane in the first grade.
I would sit beside my aunt, or on her lap, and she would point out words to see if I could remember and recognize them. First it was "and" and "the" and such, but gradually, following her finger as she read, I picked up, first more words, and then how to sound them out. I was reading on my own before I entered kindergarten.
For a long time I was not sure if this was but an invention of my aunt. I had assimilated my father's skepticism. But when my youngest son began to read on his own before he was five, I began to trust my own recollections. I do know that in the next couple of years I read all of the series I could get my hands on. I remember very little of any of them, but the cover of Tic Toc of Oz (my favorite) is still quite sharp in my mind--after 60 years.
With nothing to compare them to, I had no sense of how odd they were. This may explain more about my life than I would ever have realized without that review on Live Journal.