How have I never noticed this thread? Reading was my LIFE until senior year of high school (then I got busy and began to do most of my reading on the interwebs. I'm graduated from college now, but I just applied for a library card and I hope to get back into reading novels again). The library was my spiritual refuge from ages 3-16, the one place where I could escape to and never be hurt, far more significantly than church ever was.
I started around age 3, I think. As far as my conscious memory is concerned, I've always been able to read and read everything in sight - if there wasn't a book handy, I read magazines, newspapers, catalogues, junk mail.
In 8th grade, my mom actually called the school and got me banned from the library because my grades were dropping so much from me reading instead of doing homework (and sneaking books into class instead of listening to the lecture). The Texas public education system has this thing called Accelerated Reader, where you go to the library and take these 10-question quizzes for each book and you get points from each quiz. At the end of the year, you could redeem your accumulated points for prizes. The height of my triumph was 8th grade (the same year I was banned from the library) when I had over 800 points and the next runner-up had less than 500. I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I read Two Towers and Return of the King back to back in one sitting) but I loved them more for being worth 30 points...each
. Good times.
I read everything on the bookshelf in my room, which were my mother's random accumulations throughout her life, so I read the whole of the Little House on the Prairie series by 2nd grade, Chronicles of Narnia by 3rd, Little Women in 4th grade (and I think
Anne of Green Gables), Jane Eyre in 6th. Also a bunch of Christian missionary biographies, and every Christian teen self-help book my mother bought. The only two books that were completely immune from my grasping hands were Les Miserables and Brothers Karamazov, because those looked like they'd be pretty, well, miserable to get through. I tend to favor an escapist flavor in my recreational reading. I actually managed to burn out on Tom Clancy novels in 8th grade and haven't touched another one since.
Slightly off topic, I guess, but did anyone else who read fairly early, and fairly quickly have major problems with spelling? My 3rd-5th grade teacher had a theory that I had such issues with spelling tests because of that. I would just recognize the words, and never, ever need to sound them out, so I never did.
Actually, I'm the opposite. I'm a visual learner and I picture things movie style all the time - so once I've read a word, I tend to be able to picture it in my mind and also sound it out. Which combined to make impeccable spelling abilities for as long as I can remember. Always aced my spelling tests in school.