Do you remember the first book you selected and read all by yourself? I do. Dr. Seuss's On Beyond Zebra in my second grade class.
I think Miss Hillman, my teacher, told the class to select a book to read from the shelf in the room whenever our work was done. The cover drew me because of the zebra which was similar to a horse, and being horse crazy even then, it was irresistible. The pictures impressed me as much as the words and sent me on a drawing-coloring fit that lasted a lifetime. It was a fun book and I remember feeling such a sense of accomplishment at having read it. I felt the same thing the first time I read a whole book without pictures although I cannot remember the title of that book.
Reading is such an enjoyment I don't know why so many people (I think the statistics are 2 or 3 out of every 5) don't read for pleasure.
Reading is a lot like art, a two-way communication between author and reader. Everyone who stands in front of a painting sees and understands it a little different from everyone else. It's the same with written material. When you read a story, especially one you like, you take ownership of it. When the story is distilled through your mind, when you see the action in thought and identify with the characters, they become a part of you. So, although you didn't write a book, in a very real way, the book becomes yours.
Well, do you remember that first book?