Assistance is sought from the gentle reader (and all the others, whoever you may be) on a project I dreamed up twenty minutes ago that has already become a full-length book in my head.
I would love it if people would leave in the comments box an account of their earliest memory of reading. Not of being read to, but of reading themselves: of seeing the letters on the page (or whatever; in my case it was a shoebox) and recognising sounds or words. Do you remember the moment that you realised you could read?
Post anonymously, or not, or whatever you prefer. If you'd like to be identified and given attribution (see how confident I am, in the first flush of inspiration, that this will become a book in the fullness of time?), you can email me, including your own email address for verification, at pavlovdotcatatgmaildotcom.
My own earliest memory of reading is of standing in my parents' bedroom with my back braced against their high bed, in my raspberry-coloured velvet dress with the ecru lace collar, so we must have been going out somewhere very flash indeed, possibly the Minlaton Show, while my mother did up my shoes. The wardrobe door was open and the shoeboxes were stacked up high in there on a shelf. 'MIMI', one of them said on the side.
'Mmmeeemmmeee', I said.
'What?' said my mum. 'What did you say? What is it?' But I couldn't explain it. MIMI. It wasn't a word. It was the same thing twice. It had nothing to do with shoes. It was a mystifying, symmetrical, seductive set of signs that meant sounds. My mum often read to us -- but out of books, not off the sides of shoeboxes in wardrobes. I had no idea that "reading" was the name of what I was doing.
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