My reading autobiography has to be divided into sections as it is evolutionary. Beginning from the elementary setting reading at that time was more in a traditional setting than anything else. I was not so called ‘interested’ in reading, I had to be pushed into by my teachers and urged by my friends and parents. I have to mention my brother’s name here as he always encouraged me to read out of the school curriculum, for him reading anything like newspapers, any other kinds of materials or stories were all important. I used to do all the assigned reading but was also enthusiastic about reading the different pre determined topics as well. I need to acknowledge here that schooling at this period was very effective as I can describe my ability to read then as something ‘good’. Teachers from the elementary school did recognize that my level of reading was somewhat better than my classmates. So it can be concluded that I was a notch higher from the other students as regards my reading abilities were concerned. I studied in a good background school.
Reading in junior high school was different from the elementary setting. The first three years from the junior high school and the last three years of high school were memorable ones. Although I had the ability to read and was better than my peers but I had a terrible power of concentration. I just could not finish a book attentively all by myself I would read a few lines and get up and do something like that. I began skipping all the reading assignments given by my teachers. Although I did not like to read the school assignments given by my teachers but I would love to read the storybooks that my friends would give me all the Enid Blyton ones, the Famous Five, Mills and Boons, the R.K. Laxman ones all of them. I found them to be particularly interesting and enjoyable.
At this grade I think there were two people very important ones who played an instrumental role in my life. They were my English language teacher and my friend. This teacher would ask me to read on any given topic and speak it out in the morning assembly. If the topic of reading was of a religious nature then he would ask me to read it in front of the Friday prayer congregation. With this I admit I learnt all the skinning and scanning strategies meaning I would search for all the important parts in a book and summarise it for the concerned audience.
Next is reading at the university level which was so different from reading at elementary setting or reading at the junior high school. My major was Arabic and hence I got to read a lot about Arabic poetry and literature. Here I began to read, “A Sparrow from the East”, “ The Days”, “ I Forgot I am a woman”. At this grade my reading habits changed completely, I had to read extra for my majors and hence began to read extensively. Reading was not that difficult a skill as compared with writing. I think I have always struggled with writing more.
Reading had evolved for me it was not just limited to reading for academic purposes but for pleasure and entertainment. Though it was not possible without my share of the glitches like I had difficulty in comprehending some of the reading passages, there was no speed in my reading I would read really slow. There was a genuine lack of motivation in reading the assigned books I would never find them interesting hence just could not concentrate and finish them. As a child reading was never important to me I would read only the assigned books but this reading ability began to evolve with time and because of my friends, family and teachers reading had become a pleasurable activity for me.