As the recipient of a classical education, I was intrigued with the movie "Troy" which came out this summer. When I sat down in the theater my heart skipped a beat and I realized that the characters in "The Iliad", the book on which "Troy" is based, were a greater part of my high school experience than my favorite teacher, my first boyfriend or the award I got for the highest score in the nation of my Latin achievement exams. I earned that score by going through The Iliad line by line, sometimes word by word. In that excruciating process, I came to know “Brave” Achilles, Hector, the “Tamer of Horses” and “Wily” Ulysses far better than the kid sitting next to me. That’s because I’m an introvert. Instead of prom plans, hot fashions, the latest teen pregnancy and my mother’s drinking “problem”, Homer spoke to me of the beauty of Helen, the outrage of Agamemnon and the wrath of Achilles. He spoke about a time when men walked with gods. I was forever hooked on the classics. But then, as I said. I’m an introvert. We love to read.

Here’s what a middle aged mother wrote in answer to one of the surveys on my web site for introverts. “I went to the movie theater alone to see Shrek 2,” she says. “Looking at the groups of people around me, I felt a sudden need for company. So I pulled a paperback copy of Dante's Purgatorio out of my purse and propped it up on my lap so that Dante and Virgil could enjoy the movie.”

Other introverts admit to having read books in the bathtub, on the toilet, in the classroom during boring lectures, in funeral homes, at kids’ concerts, in the basement foundation of a construction site at night (the moon was bright enough to read by), while driving and while waiting for a movie to start. There were some exceptional cases worth mentioning as well. One introvert claims to have read “in the car at night waiting for a cop to write up a ticket (I was 19 or 20 years old)”. Another comments that she read in The Tower of Memories in Crown Hill Memorial Park. “I was in the basement crypt,” she explains, “with several stories of dead folks around and above me reading portions of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Don't ask.” The funniest one I received was this. “On the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Why look at it when you can read about it?” That’s a pretty typical introvert response.

One of the very nicest things you can do for your introverted child is to let them read. And by that I mean, let them have their nose constantly in a book. Let them walk in the house after school, go to their room, close the door and read. Let them hold a flashlight under the covers at night and read. This is by far the favored activity reported by all the adult introverts I’ve interviewed. Most of them report that they can’t remember a time when they didn’t read and most of them estimate they have read “thousands” of books in their lives, some as many as 15,000. They also like to reread books several times a year if they like them.

When asked specifically how they learned to read, many said their mother or grandmother taught them. A surprising number mention learning at the age of two or “always knowing how to read”. Here are some responses:

* I simply absorbed it. There was never a need to be formally taught.

* [I learned to read] very young. The family myth is I was 2 years old. I've always known how to read. So has my daughter. In the genes.
My sister taught me when I was about 2 and she was about 7.

* [I learned in] school? I don’t remember not being able to.

* According to my mother I made her teach me and could read and comprehend when I was 2.

* I seem to have picked it up on my own. The first word I learned to read was "Maytag", from my Mom's wringer washer. I went from there to canned food labels at the supermarket and billboards along US1.

* I honestly don't remember. It feels as if I have always been reading

* Can’t remember not being able to read.

* I learned by looking at the words while my parents read to me. They claim I could read at the age of 2.

* Don’t know – was born reading.

* My mom read to me when I was little, and I learned that way. I was never really 'taught' how to read. I just picked it up.

* My mom and dad are both teachers, and from the time I was about 3, they'd listen to me sound out words while they got ready for work.

* My sister taught me the alphabet and how to spell a few words before I started kindergarten. My mom read to me a lot so by the time I started school, I could read a little. By third grade, I was reading almost constantly.

* My aunt taught me at home before school started (now it would be preschool) so I was really excited to get to first grade and see the alphabet letters on the ceiling around the room and to sit in the reading circle.

* I had a slow start. I couldn't get the hang of it in kindergarten, but that summer I decided that my family needed to read the Bible through in a year. I decided to sound out entire chapters of Leviticus. It nearly drove my parents crazy, but by the end of the summer I could read.

* Don't remember learning at all so I must have learned at home before I went to school.

* i could make it through two Nancy Drews and the like a day by the time I was in second grade. I read Gone with the Wind for the first time in third grade and it took me all of three days.

Some “late bloomers” didn’t start reading until around 5 years old (!) These are typical answers: “My mother taught me when I was 4.” … “By myself, with help from my mom.” … “I started myself at 5, then at school by myself.” … “I was about 5 years old.” … “My mother began to teach me before I entered school.” … “I suppose my mother taught me, because I could read before I got to school.”

David Benioff, screenwriter for "Troy", says "The Iliad" was always one of his favorite books. He heard it read aloud as a little kid. “My mother was bedridden,” he explained in an interview, “and she would read me whatever she was reading at the time. When I was six she read me The Iliad. Of course the book was composed to be spoken, and in a good translation it has this great rhythm. Even before I understood what was going on I was swept up in the rhythm of it. Hector and Achilles were heroes of mine even before I began reading comic books. Before Spider-Man and the X-Men I was obsessed with these two. When I got older I thought it was weird that they hadn’t made the big movie of it.”

Liked Benioff, many of our introverted readers mentioned the joys of reading aloud. My father, who had a beautiful bass voice and much dramatic ability, read aloud to me as a child. Several years ago my daughter taught "The Iliad" at a local college. I asked her to remind me of the story and we lay together on the bed late one night as she spoke eloquently, from memory, of the wrath of Achilles.

Here’s what my introverted readers said about their “out loud” experiences. “My spouse and I read 'The Chronicles of Narnia' to each other,” said one introvert. “We alternated every two chapters. It was wonderful. We are trying to keep this habit, but his suggestion was to read 'Master and Margarita' (in Russian) and it was too much for my language abilities.” Another introvert comments, “[I] just [read aloud] to my kids … it would be a fantasy quality in a partner.” And another says, “Yes, me and my girlfriend read to each other while the other is driving on vacations.”

Some introverts read to their pets. One young mother said she read aloud to her golden retrievers. She added, “I love to hear my husband read to me, I find it very soothing.” Another introvert mentioned reading aloud to her cat when she was little.

Another woman, a teacher replied, “Yes, [someone read] to me until I could read myself. My tutoring students read aloud. I read aloud to myself in Latin and in English if it's something written before 1750 or so. Latin literature can't be rightly appreciated any other way. English literature was also designed to be read aloud until the Modern Era.”

Some families bond by reading aloud to each other. “[I read aloud] all the time,” said a recent college grad. “It's the main way my family bonds; my sister and I still read together sometimes even though we're in our twenties.” And another student mentions, “My mom and I still sometimes read aloud to each other.”

What were some of their favorite books as children? "Anne of Green Gables" is the most frequently mentioned book. The "Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder scored high as did "The Chronicles of Narnia". Roald Dahl was a popular author. "The Secret Garden" was another frequently mentioned book. Things haven’t changed too much. Nowadays they prefer to read these same books to their young friends with the addition of Harry Potter and "The Hobbit".

One thing that amazed me as an introvert is how many mentioned being persecuted as children for reading “too much”. Prince Trae remarks, “I remember one summer (7th grade?) where I spent most of the summer reading. My mother was always trying to get me to go outside, get my head out of the books, and play like the rest of the kids.”

Another middle aged woman remembers, “At a grown-up party, for example, [my parents would say] "There's a girl from your class ... go and play with her." [This] only made me want to reply, "Yes, I recognized her thank you. I see her every day and I'd rather go sit in the car and read ... because if I was social, if I wanted to socialize, I would have run up to the other child and said 'let's play'! Duh."

Reading is the #1 favorite activity of most introverts (there are eight different types). For a great reading list that will raise your introverted child’s self esteem, visit "11 Books that will Raise Their Self Esteem" at These books have introverted children as the main characters. They will find their worldview supported and enhanced with these books. I have also prepared an extended Listmania list through with 14 books your child may enjoy very much. CLICK HERE

Introverts as a whole make up less than 30% of the population but as IQ rises, so does the percentage of introverts. As you can see, introverts make contributions to the world far in excess of their numbers.

I have prepared a list of books which have a main character who is an introvert to help you understand introverted characteristics in action. You can visit this list HERE

I also have a list of children's books that treat the nature of introversion sensitively. You can visit this list HERE

Author's Bio: 

Nancy R. Fenn is the IntrovertZCoach. It is her mission in life to raise consciousness about introversion as a legitimate personality type. Learn more on the web at