Since my kids were babies, we have been reading to them every day, every night, any book they wanted. Even when he wanted to read the same book over and over and over again (I'm talking to you, Toddlersaurus!) and I wanted him to just PICK A NEW BOOK ALREADY, we read what he chose. For almost six straight months we read nightly from the Animal Atlas, a science directory and dictionary of animals throughout the world. He loves dinosaurs and presidents, history and science.
Now that Bjorn can read himself, he has discovered a love of the written word in his daily life. He reads street signs and restaurant menus, airplane safety information cards and newspaper and magazine headlines. At times I hear the sounds of silence - an ominous sound for any parent- and peek into his room only to find him sprawled out on his floor, books scattered around him. He reads stories to his sister aloud; each time I hear him, I'm impressed and awed by his developing skills.
A few days ago I finally convinced Bjorn and Peanut to let me choose the nighttime story. Instead of reaching for old favorites, There's a Wocket in your pocket or If I ran the dog show, I grabbed a book of mine from when I was a child. Stuart Little.
They protested at first. "This has no pictures!"
I told them I would read only one chapter, and if they didn't like it, they could pick another book. After chapter one, they were begging me to keep reading. My heart swelled as they discovered that words could make an impact even without the pictures alongside them. Words had the power to make you feel and imagine.
On my bookshelf sits all the books of my childhood, saved for me by my mom- the secret garden, sideways stories from wayside school, the bfg, the hardy boys and more. My childhood, my loves, just waiting for my son and daughter to read and love them as well. I can't wait.
So when I was asked to write a post on the PTA family reading challenge, I didn't hesitate to say yes. Books, the written word, language - these are my first loves, after my family. This initiative on behalf of the National PTA encourages parents to continue to read and explore books through out the summer. They also have tips and information for parents on reading practices.
I know we tend to get so busy during the summer, with swim lessons, camping, visits to Bjorn's favorite science museum or Peanut's gymnastics class that learning can be an after thought. So The Hubs and I have decided to reward the kids this summer after they complete a reading log. The longer the log (I.e. The more books read, or read to), the bigger the reward.
Find out how you can join the National PTA Family Reading Challenge at www.ptareadingchallenge.org.