when I was growing up, but then in the 1950's people simply didn't own as many books as now.
My older brother belonged to the Science-Fiction Book Club back then, and I used to sneak the s-f books off his shelf to read. We did have a set of The Book House Books, which most people have never heard of, but were really quite a wonderful thing for that day. Volume 1 was basically nursery rhymes, Volume 2 simple stories and so on, until Volume 12 was fairly serious literature.
Once I learned to read, I got a library card, and in first grade I'd go to the library after school and take a later public bus home. This was in Utica, NY, the wonderful Carnegie Library that's still there. The library has remained an important part of my life ever since.
My mother was very good about reading to us, and I read to my kids from early infancy. Both of them are avid readers as adults.