One of my earliest memories of literacy is when I first became interested in reading. I had previously enjoyed reading books from what I can remember, but they didn’t last long, such as the magisterium series, charlotte’s web, or wings of fire series. It was always an on-and-off kind of thing where I would lose interest for a more extended period of time than when I gained it, right after finishing a book. However, it all changed in sixth grade, when my class read Percy Jackson for the first time.
In elementary school we often did read-aloud as a class, where the kids would sit on the floor surrounding the teacher, a copy of the reading in each person’s hands, following along as the teacher or another student reads aloud. Just writing this gives me nostalgia. I don’t recall another time when I was as excited for a story as I was for this one. Unless you count Judy Blume’s Fudge tales, but honestly even that doesn’t compare. Everything was heightened in these moments, my participation, eagerness, discussion, and imagination. So much so, that I used to read ahead, always opening my mouth to rant about it, putting those colorful sticky tabs all around it, and even staying up late at night.
To this day it probably still is one of my favorite books. Nothing had a hold on me like the Percy Jackson book, and later the series. I thought I reached the max capacity for this beloved series but then at the end, I find out were doing movie night and watching the Percy Jackson movie. We got all cozied up in our PJs with popcorn and drinks, screaming “it’s not done yet!” before the end credit scene. The joy I felt was indescribable, I wish I could feel that again.
This summer, I had a summer camp counselor in training job, watching over this small class of kids, and I was assigned to go diving in a storage unit for books for them to read. I found a whole stash of Percy Jackson books, and brought two back with me, praying one of the kids would be interested in reading even though they were around 8-10 years old, I tried my hardest to convince them every day. It didn’t work, but another teacher did pick it up to read just as I did. Every day when the silent reading time came around, I sat on a chair and re-read Percy Jackson by myself after so many years, finishing it by the time my summer job ended. I realized how much of it I forgot and went on again talking to the teachers and friends and family. Then proceeding to rewatch the movie again just so I could pull at the differences.
Reading Percy Jackson really opened a window for me, one that I never thought I would stay in. Onward from this moment, for the rest of the year and even in middle school I stayed on top of my game always making sure to up my reading level and discover new books I loved. Books such as the Divergent series, shadow hunter series, hazelwood trilogy, etc. I grew a love for getting lost in these worlds I created in my head from all the books that I read.
“Reading Gives Us Someplace To Go When We Have To Stay Where We Are.”Mason Cooley
It became something I enjoyed doing that really benefited me, and this time it was a long-lasting effect, even though I don’t always have the time now. But when I do I take advantage of it.