Sunday, May 27, 2012

Raising Readers

Each summer I look forward to the uninterrupted days that stretch before me. When I first began teaching I would spend my summers in solitude, picking the things I wanted to do. My summers were shaped by times of leisure, working on my classrooms, reading, and more. Then I had Luke, followed by Liam. Summers became less about me, more about them. I had to change my routine to fit the needs of growing children.

Fast forward to the beginnings of summer 2012. Luke is nine, soon to be ten, and will be entering fourth grade in the fall. Liam has just turned seven this spring and is entering second grade in the fall. When we’ve talked about this summer together we’ve discussed little league practices and games. Swim lessons, swim team practices and meets. Vacations, play dates, and sleepovers.

Throughout all of our conversations about summer, one item has remained consistent, reading. We’ve talked about the summer camp I am running on Tuesdays that they will both be a part of. We’ve talked about my summer reading goals – #bookaday. We’ve talked about what books they are eagerly waiting to purchase and add to their collections.

I think this is one of the things I have most look forward to in being a parent - helping my children love reading. Developing that addiction could be tough. Looking back at my own life, where did it come from? I had parents who love reading. Both have books on their bedside tables. Both read before bedtime each night. Books were always given freely and were frequent gifts at Christmas. The library was a place of worship. While my sister and brother aren’t as obsessed with reading as I am, I would still consider them readers. (Even though my brother is not enjoying Hunger Games – how is that even possible?)

So with my own children I’ve read to them constantly. Their rooms are overflowing with books. We discuss books, attend author events, make frequent trips to the bookstore. More importantly, I think, Chris and I are reading role models for them. I expect them to read but also support them where they are. Luke has always been a good reader. Liam had to work hard at it, but that work has paid off. 

So, as I sit here and type this morning the house is filled with silence. At 7:30 on a Sunday morning, four of the five of us (counting the dog) are up. I’ve been reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. (Wow, an intense book that I’m adoring.) Liam is sitting next to me on his fourth Babymouse book since yesterday afternoon. Luke is stretched out in the living room reading Babymouse as well. And Bally (our dog), well she’s just being lazy on the floor. To me, this is the perfect picture of summer. Endless reading days stretched ahead of us. 

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