Witherspoon was raised as an Episcopalian, and has said she is proud of the "definitive Southern upbringing" which she received. She said that it gave her "a sense of family and tradition" and taught her about "being conscientious about people's feelings, being polite, being responsible and never taking for granted what you have in your life". At the age of seven, Witherspoon was selected as a model for a florist's television advertisements, which motivated her to take acting lessons. At age eleven, she took first place in the Ten-State Talent Fair. Witherspoon received high grades in school, loved reading, and considered herself "a big dork who read loads of books". On mentioning her love for books, she said, "I get crazy in a bookstore. It makes my heart beat hard because I want to buy everything. " She has been described as a "multi-achiever" and was given the nickname "Little Type A" by her parents. Witherspoon attended middle school at Harding Academy and graduated from the all-girls' Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, during which time she was a cheerleader. She later attended Stanford University as an English literature major, but left the school prior to completing her studies to pursue an acting career.