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At middle school, I was convinced that "destitute" meant a male prostitute.
After reading somewhere that "he was destitute...."
When I was four or five and just starting to read I was very confused by the small print on packets of toilet paper. I read "2-ply" and thought this was actually a list of instructions, of which point 2 was "play". The fact that the "instructions" didn't say what you should play with, and that there was no number 1 (as it were) in the "list", didn't stop me from holding this belief for some time, to the frustration of my Dad who attempted several times without success to explain to me what "ply" meant.
As a kid in the 70s and 80s I amassed a large number of annuals, or bumper comic (book) hardbacks which came out to coincide with the school holidays. Some of these had a "serious" feature designed to give you an idea for something to do apart from read comics, and although I generally ignored these, one, headlined "Youth-Hostelling", intrigued me for a long time. I didn't know what the term meant, but instead of finding out (or reading the feature) I tried to work it out by myself, concluding that it actually said "Youth House Stealing", and that the article warned against getting involved with large gangs of young criminals who stole houses.
I always thought that the tv commercial phrase "Reading is fundamental" was instead "Reading is fun to mental". I guess I was. D'oh!
When we were in English class, my friend told me that they took the word gullible out of the dictionary. Well, that's all it took to convince me. But, later I went to look for it and, of course, it was still in there!
All through my childhood, there was a commercial for a group called R.I.F (reading is fundamental) The announcer would loudly say "Reading is FUN! Damental!"
I thought they were saying "Reading is fun- The Mental!"
As in, those children with mental disabilities should read, too.
Whenever I couldn't read a word, I would just make up something in its place. So, whenever I would read to my mom or something, she would chuckle or something at my completely made up word.
Once in seventh grade we all had to read from our science books aloud. Well, I was reading a sentence and I came across the word Organism of course I thought I said Orgasm, so that's what I read outloud in front of my whole class. Everyone broke out laughing, even the teacher!
When I was on vacation, we drove past a bookstore, and I read the sign(silently), but accidentally left out a letter. It was a Christian bookstore, which it also said on the sign. I only thought 'That's an unusual name for a store.' Fortunately we drove past it again, because we had gotten lost, as usual, and this time I was able to see that the name also included the letter 'I'.
The name of the store was 'Arise'.
When I was 5, I believed that the older you are the bigger the books you read. I have clear memories of sitting in library class planning that in the future when I was in grade 6 (about 11 years old) I would borrow the two red 10 cm thick books that sat on the shelf behind the library teacher. As I grew older I realised that I had in fact planned to borrow two volumes of the dictionary !!!
I thought, in kindergarden, in order to read a book you had to read the page then turn it around and wave it back and forth. Little did I know the teacher was just showing us the pictures and it was not required if you were reading to your self.
the old sonic sign said "happy eating" at the bottom. For a while as I was learning to read i thought it said happy easter until i asked my mom why they never took the sign down
I was nearly ten when I found out that
'Clairvoyant' wasn't an 'agony aunt'
I used to beleive that all books were coloring books, but some of them --dictionaries for instance -- just weren't as much fun to color as other books were.
For the longest time I'd read the word "colonel" in a book without realizing that it's pronounced 'kernel'.
When I visited the public library as a little kid, I assumed most of the books in the grown-up section were filled with pictures of people "doing it".
When I was young my uncle had a big book of the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. It had the name "Poe" on the spine in huge letters. Inside it had both short stories and poems. Once I saw this I assumed that Poe had invented poetry and people had named it after him.
When I was so young that I was still being read to at bedtime, my parents were working their way through the wonderful book "Robinson Caruso" when I began having some heavy-duty nightmares. When my parents asked me what was wrong, I finally asked, "Robinson Caruso didn't really kill and eat a little kid, did he?" When I found out we were talking about a young goat, the nightmares stopped...
Once, I found a very fascinating book in my mother's book case. I read the summery on the back, and learned the word, "Courtesan", as well as many others(all of which got me into some sticky situations). I reasoned that from the sound of the words and the summary that a courtesan was a female lawyer.
Bursting to show off my new word, I addressed my aunt, who was a lawyer. I...asked her what she did as a courtesan. What happened afterwards was Not Fun.
My mum's aunt gave her daughter a copy of Jackie magazine. She refused to read it as her name was not Jackie.