在我上五年级时，我结束我的阅读课程，开始帮助辅导阅读困难的其他人，并且也得到机会可以离开校园，去公共的儿童图书馆阅读（一年后我开始进去成人图书馆阅读）。在儿童图书馆阅读的时间里，我参加了由我的老师Eileen Boer组织的独立阅读项目，在老师的帮助下，我开始在我喜欢的主题和领域进行选择性阅读。我在一个小镇出生和长大，当我还是小孩子时，我的假期和周末要么局限在在我爷爷奶奶的牧场，要么安排我在我外婆外公在Yosemite附近是Sirra Nevada山闲置的船舱，而阅读却把美好的大千世界带到了我身边，这增长了和满足了我天性的好奇心。我开始读科幻小说（现在的时代可能已经是现实），托尔斯泰、狄更斯、诗歌、Jack London和斯蒂芬克莱恩，从国家地理中读到非洲和喜马拉雅，以及后来读到克尔凯郭儿、卡夫卡、果戈里、尼采以及古埃及的哲学家。
How Reading Changed My Life
I can remember being very, very, young and receiving books as presents and my grandparents always asking me to read billboards when we traveled or to read to friends of the family.
By Grade 5 (Age 10), I was released from my Reading class and asked to tutor struggling readers, and was also allowed to leave the campus and go to the public Children’s Library (later that year I moved up to the Adult Library) where I self-selected books I wanted to read that addressed the topic areas set-out in the Independent Reading Program designed by my teacher (Eileen Boer). I grew-up in a small town and as a child spent most holidays and weekends either on my grandparents’ cattle ranch or at the retirement cabin of my mother’s parents in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Yosemite. Reading brought the world to me. It fueled and satisfied my innate curiosity: Science Fiction (much is now our reality), Tolstoy, Dickens, Poe, Jack London and Stephen Crane — Africa and the Himalayas from the National Geographic to name a few early interests and later, Kierkegaard, Kafka, Gogol, Nietzsche and the ancient Greek philosophers.
I was allowed to take Grade 11/12 Social Studies when I entered High School (Grade 9) because my reading level already exceeded the Grade 12 requirement.
I remained a voracious reader once I graduated from High School. My family owned large cattle ranches, so university was not a family priority. After many years of working on ranches and then building fine homes on the California Central Coast, I became unable to continue working with my hands. Thankfully, I still read voraciously, and so I entered higher education and very quickly settled on English as a major after initially considering Journalism, History and Philosophy.
Once I entered higher education, I was very thankful that I had always been a reader. Though I had much to learn in each discipline, my reading had provided me with a breadth of knowledge and developed my critical thinking and questioning skills quite well. Plus, all the reading provided me wonderful content for my essays, a good sense of persuasive rhetoric and a unique “voice” as a writer.
Reading, thus led me to my successes as an English major. Reading prepared me for an unplanned career change by providing the foundation for my ability to meet new intellectual challenges as I developed my new career; first in America and later in a number of other countries – in each instance the love of words and the meanings they convey has allowed me to improve my situation.
I am very thankful to each and every person who supported my reading and writing as a youth. I am also very thankful to everyone who has contributed to today’s event and all similar activities as they bring people together who love words and the varied meanings they convey. And, of course, today is special in that so many youngsters will share their own developing skills and interests with us – many thanks and congratulations to all!