Awhile ago I came across this quote from Emilie Buchwald, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents,” and it made me smile.
Those bedtime stories and middle of the day stories meant as much to me as they did to my kids. S loved Time for Bed by Mem Fox and Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney, and then she discovered No, David! by David Shannon. That was the first book she ‘read’ on her own, and it was pure magic to watch her. C loved Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. I remember each of them bringing stacks of books and climbing up on my lap and listening until my voice grew tired. Then they would move on to Tim, and he would read the stack as well.
My favorite baby shower gift is books. In fact, when I hear from former students who are having babies, I send off a little package of several titles my kids loved, and a note with one piece of parenting advice: “Read to him/her every day even when you think they are too young to understand or are too squirmy to sit still for long. Surround your child with books and a love of reading. It is one of the best gifts you can give.”
Earlier this week I stumbled across this graphic: Importance of Reading Aloud; one more thing to reinforce what I already knew about early literacy.
And you can’t stop once kids learn to read on their own. You have to keep nurturing that love of reading. S and C are both past the point that they want me to read to them (sad moment for me when that happened), but we still talk about books.
I love that S will email me at school and ask me to check our library for a certain book because her school doesn’t have it. Last night, on the way home from her basketball game, she and a friend were discussing what was missing from the Catching Fire movie. Both had reread the book prior to the movie’s release, and while they loved the movie, they were quick to point out all the things that were left out that made the book better.
C started reading the Harry Potter series at the beginning of the school year and is just finishing up the 6th book. I can’t even count the number of times when he will be reading and say, “Mom, listen to this!” and then he reads a passage to me. I love those moments; it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I stop and listen.
There are days they don’t read at all (gasp!) and others we negotiate bedtime because “I just want to finish this chapter!” Both are already looking forward to having a couple of days off for Thanksgiving because C really wants to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and S just finished Allegiant and has downloaded the latest in the Keatyn Chronicles.
Every time the topic of minutes come up, I tell them, “I want you to still be reading in 20 years, so don’t worry about 20 minutes.” They get it. They don’t read for points or pizzas or Six Flag tickets.
They read because they understand the nuances of a good story.