The First Time I Learnt To Read

I learnt how to read when I was four years old. It’s my first childhood memory, and I remember it quite vividly. The way the letters which some days before had only represented the pitches and flow of my mother’s voice as she narrated a story, suddenly became symbols of definition and hence created a new world of imagination for me, a world of fantasy.

The boy could fly, my mother might have read to me and I gazed at her lips, and then at the page I was unable to distinguish the different words on, let alone the letters of the alphabet. Until that one day when I suddenly became aware of the sound of each letter. Beee. Ooooh. Waeee – Boy.

I felt like I’d cracked the omerta code. The revolution had begun for me! I could not stop reading after that, reading everything from product labels to license plates, much to the annoyance of my parents – CWGV23 – seeweegeevee 23. This past time has continued until this day, although thankfully I’ve now ditched the labels reading.

Apart from learning how to read, and how to whistle (which took weeks of dedicated practice and hence must have its place as a permanent memory in my left lobe) , I don’t remember any other infant ‘firsts’. Not how to tie my shoelaces. Or, how not to put the right shoe on my left foot. Or how to use a knife and fork… But reading I do remember.

2 thoughts on “The First Time I Learnt To Read

  1. What a happy story. I don’t remember learning to read, but I do remember the reading-everything stage: in fact I still do it – I read the backs of my shampoo bottles in the shower, the contents of my yoghurt pot while I’m eating breakfast, the small print on the adverts on the tube. And as for books, as Primo Levi said, ‘Printed paper is a vice of mine’.


  2. i love the story,makes me appreciate the skill even more especially when i’m exposed to children who do not have enough encouragement and opportunities to immerse themselves in reading and imagination!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s