I LOVE reading and I think there are two things in my life that influenced that: my dad and Reading Rainbow with Levar Burton.
When I was in elementary school, we used to get Scholastic book order forms each month. My dad would let me order whatever I wanted from them. He never told me which books he wanted me to read nor would he ever tell me I wasn't allowed to read certain books. This resulted in hundreds of Baby Sitter's Club books, Bad News Ballet books, and horror books all over the house. Yes, I loved horror. My favorite authors were Christopher Pike, Betty Ren Wright, R.L. Stine, and Stephen King. Some of my favorite books are still Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright and The Stand by Stephen King. I was never forced to read something I didn't enjoy (and sometimes that included text books). I know too many people who hate reading because they were forced to read something they didn't care about and associate reading with boredom and even pain.
My second influence was Reading Rainbow. I watched almost religiously as a kid and well into adulthood. I can still sing the entire theme song. The show was entertaining and made reading entertaining. I loved Levar Burton so much I even started watch Star Trek: TNG and now I'm a Trekkie, but that's another story. In 2009, Reading Rainbow went off the air after nearly 30 years.
This month, Levar Burton has a Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign to raise money to bring it back for everyone. This won't bring back the TV show, but will bring it back on other platforms. Please help support this project! Even Data makes an appearance at the end of this video. :)
While the original theme song is still my favorite, this cover by Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison is pretty awesome too.