Do you remember the moment when you cracked the reading code? I do.
I was five when I finally figured out what the words in the books said. I remember how frustrated I had been because I knew all the letters but I couldn’t combine them into words.
One day I made an extra effort and read each letter in a story slowly, pronouncing them and trying to put them together: a-a-a l-l-l… Then, all the sudden, the door flung open, letters formed into words, words formed into stories. You know how it is when the fog lifts and you suddenly see the vast landscape around you, or when you draw back the curtains in the morning to have a first look over a new city you arrived at only the night before… that’s how it felt, looking back.
It was a life-changing moment. I became literate from one second to the next, literally. One instant I was just an ordinary earthly child, the next an explorer in a new world that opened up before me. I know exactly what Neil Armstrong must have felt the moment he put his foot on the lunar surface. A giant leap. Nothing less.
Not that I reflected on it at the time. I did not cheer, I did not even bother to tell anyone about my new-found skills. I just felt a silent satisfaction and thought, “Finally. About time.”
The first thing I read was a Donald Duck magazine. I lay flat on my back.
The sheer joy of reading! Every child has the right to experience that sensation.
— Zol H.