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Growing into a Reader

A stepping stone that brought me to writing.

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 8 months ago 3 min read
16
Growing into a Reader
Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash

Before I get to the book that changed my life, I’d like to give you a little background about me as a human. I was diagnosed with severe ADHD/ ADD at a young age, and with that came the struggle of not only having no attention span to read but lack of memory for reading comprehension.

To this day I often struggle to remember things I have read unless I read it multiple times or take notes alongside it. Although it’s less about attention span now and more just that I have poor memory thanks to my many sports-related (and clumsiness-related) concussions.

But I digress, as I grew up reading never seemed to get much easier as was always promised by the avid readers in my family. I would watch with jealousy as they devoured book after book and I could barely convince myself to get passed the cover.

That being said it took me a long time to grow into a reader with a not very patient support system, as I will attest that I am the slowest reader I know. Not just aloud but also in my head too.

That being said, reading was not only challenging for me but at times could be frustrating, I learned to skim the stories rather than take them in. Reading was an assignment from my English teacher, not a treat. It certainly wasn’t my first choice of activity when seeking enjoyment. 

For years I was plagued with never actually finishing a book or series, not even Harry Potter as I got bogged down by all the details and unfamiliar words. Even after watching all the movies, my interest was still not as peaked as it needed to be to slog through that menacingly long journey JK Rowling had written. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the books now that I’ve finally read them all but I still find they take some work to get through for whatever reason. (Probably just a mental block I put on them, subconsciously after starting each one multiple times and never reaching the end.)

My family would impatiently wait for me to start a book and not finish it so they could take it off my hands and zoom passed me for their 100th read or whatever it was. Not lacking in the commentary about how they don’t understand how I can never finish a book or how slow I was to even start to read it.

One time, I caught my brother watching me read. But when I looked up to ask him what he was doing, he told me he was timing me to see how long it took to finish a single page. I didn’t want to know the answer, so I tossed the book aside and gave up on that attempt of The Goblet of Fire. Thusly continuing my streak of not finishing.

However, that streak was immediately put to an end when I was introduced to the Hunger Games series. The last of the movies had just come out and my mom had finally found the books.

For the first time in my life, I opened a book because I wanted to and not because I was pressured to. I devoured the first, second and third books. Officially completing the first not only book but series in my life and I finally understood the enjoyment of reading. The words jumped off the pages, and I found myself relating to the characters and was able to visualize them clearly. It was a fascinating sensation to be able to enter a whole new world through words on a page and one that gripped my soul. I had finally begun to understand what everyone was talking about when they spoke of “getting lost in a book”.

Suddenly I was set free and a whole world of possibilities opened up for me. It was in the final moments of finishing Mockingjay that a spark broke out within me and I had caught fire, I suddenly burned with a passion to write.

But not just write, to write something that was as approachable as I found The Hunger Games series to be. Something easy to follow with shorter chapters and relatable characters. Thanks to the Hunger Games I was inspired to bring forth worlds that were born of my overactive imagination and create stories I didn’t know possible.

So it goes without saying that if I hadn’t read The Hunger Games, I likely wouldn’t love reading and writing as much as I do today. Suzanne Collins and her series changed my life in a way that is still very hard to explain, other than to say that I don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t read and finished her books.

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About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

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Comments (14)

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  • Matthew Daniels7 months ago

    Your journey to becoming a writer is impressive! To overcome those challenges and find love in the very thing that obstructed you for so long is a compelling story. Plus, there's a certain poetic justice in your getting a "burning passion" from the Girl on Fire. <3 You've got a journey ahead of you that I don't want to miss. ^_^

  • Donna Renee7 months ago

    I’m so glad you caught fire with Hunger Games 😁😁. Omg your brother!! And what a brother thing to do though 🫠🤔

  • Novel Allen8 months ago

    I never read the books, just watched the movies. So brava to you for even attempting them. Experience is a strange master, what works for one does not work for another. Glad you found your book niche.

  • Andrei Z.8 months ago

    Oh, I almost forgot to come back and read this essay of yours. Thank you for sharing! It feels great to get to know fellow creators a bit more (I'm not a stalker, I promise!) :-) Reading is a hard work, no matter what others might say. But it is equally rewarding.

  • ThatWriterWoman8 months ago

    I totally agree with you here, the Hunger Games is an OUTSTANDING series to read as a young woman! Thank you for sharing this, I really enjoyed reading about you! I related to a lot of what you wrote. I am in the process of getting an ADHD diagnosis myself, and when I was a child, I was very behind in my reading comprehension because I could not pay attention in a classroom setting. I know what it's like to envy the others making strides ahead and to get into a rut of self-criticism. I am so glad you got out of it and discovered your love for reading on your own terms! Brilliantly written as always! <3

  • Grz Colm8 months ago

    Yo yo!! Donna, I love that you kept persisting and found something you could not only enjoy but get through. I think that is amazing. It would be so easy to think so and so on ‘vocal’ must really like reading etc since birth etc because of being a writer, but we have different experiences growing up and limitations so it’s not always the case. I am happy this series has helped you, not just in your reading, but also your writing as well! ☺️👏

  • Naomi Gold8 months ago

    LOL finally someone who agrees with me… Harry Potter is a SLOG to get through! And I say that as a bookworm. I don’t know how children do it. I’ve never read the Hunger Games, but I really enjoyed this nonfiction peek into your life. I believe our struggles prepare us for our purpose, but only if we are determined to overcome them. You did just that, and now you’re one of the most attentive readers on this site.

  • L.C. Schäfer8 months ago

    Well timing you was clearly a dick move. Please say you chucked the book at his head, and it was a hardback copy 😣

  • Whoaaaa, I never knew that the Hunger Games had such a huge impact on both your reading and writing experience. I'm so sorry that your family pressured you so much 🥺 Your brother timing how long you took to read a page was so out of line. I would have felt so hurt. I don't know how you managed to handle all this. Okay now don't come for me hut I've neither watched nor read the Hinger Games, lol.

  • A. Lenae8 months ago

    Really love this! As someone who also struggled with ADHD, the tendency to skim was so strong and difficult to overcome. What a gift those Hunger Games books are! Growing into a reader is a powerful ability, and I'm so glad it led to you tapping into your writing skills. I wish we all had encouragement and motivation (self-imposed or external) to "grow into" areas where things don't come easily. Alas, you're a badass for discovering this. And Peeta would agree because he knows badasses.

  • Rob Angeli8 months ago

    Sometimes what grows slowly and bloom into the best things. I read slowly and deeply, repeating passages I Iike or feel the need to relish or understand better. Well done kindling the spark!

  • Alexander McEvoy8 months ago

    This article was great! Thanks for giving us this look into your writing and reading journey :) my sibling and several of my friends also have ADHD and struggle with reading so I can emphasize Sorry I write such long stories now 😅 I’m so glad you read the Hunger Games! Without it we wouldn’t have had your amazing stories!!

  • J. S. Wade8 months ago

    I knew it. Told myself, no, it can't be. But you have confirmed it for me. You are Katniss, the girl on fire! 🔥 Great article Donna. The Hunger Games is in my top five favorite books and movies. It's one of the created worlds I could step into.

  • Mark Gagnon8 months ago

    Glad you found a solution to your problem. If you hadn't we wouldn't have all your great stories to read.😃

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