Growing a Home Full of Readers
Looking around my house it’s easy to see that we’re readers. Everywhere I turn, there are magazines or books.
I like to think that part of that comes from the fact that I started the kids early on to a love of books. As much as I was excited to receive my first baby monitor or the crib for my babies to sleep in, I was more enamored with the first books they ever received.
You see, for me, reading and a love of books is something tangible that I can pass on to my children. Unlike cribs, baby monitors, clothes and toys, the love of reading will never be broken or outgrown. It stays with you until the day you leave this world. Once you have given your child the love of books and stories; you watch their imaginations and their spirits take flight.
It always amazes me when one of the kids comes home from school and MUST tell me something that they read that day. It might be an interesting fact, a news article from their weekly reader, or maybe a point that they finally got past in a book. It thrills me almost as much as hearing “I love you”.
I took a laid back and easy approach to reading when they were young. I would read to them while I nursed and rocked them. Once they turned into wriggling, on-the move toddlers, I read until they would show signs of being bored or something else caught their attention; reading should be enjoyable, not torture.
The things I read varied too. For Bug, that sometimes meant listening to sociological articles from my college studies while I rocked him in his very early days and for Peanut it often meant being a silent editor while I proofread articles for clients. Even Bug (who is my teenager) will ask to hear a post that I’m writing out loud before it gets published. Of course not all of their early reading experiences have been quite so dry. Though I do admit that it was a great way to put them, and me, to sleep!
Over time family favorites have grown and I often can’t bear to part with a book from their infancy. Our favorites have included Sandra Boynton’s children’s classics such as "The Going to Bed Book" (which I can recite from memory; just ask me sometime) to "Not the Hippopotamus" and "Horns to Toes and In Between."
As they’re growing, I’m introducing them to some of my childhood favorites ("A Dog Called Kitty" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" still sit on the shelves in my house)and couldn’t be more pleased that they’re gaining a respect and understanding for my taste in books as well as learning how much they have in common with me. I’m also quick to understand that simply because I loved something as a child or young adult, does not mean that they will too. It can be hard to accept but even in reading, kids need to find their own independence from us.
As your children grow, what have you found to be their favorite books or stories? Are you taking the opportunity to pass down some of your childhood favorites as well? I’d love to hear how you’re fostering a love of reading in your kids.