A Good Book

After 13 years of marriage I just learned something new about my husband. He has no real memories of his parents reading to him as a child! It is something that I have completely taken for granted all of these years. He enjoys reading, but I never questioned where that had taken root. For me, books were everywhere in our home and I have vivid memories of Mom reading to us as kids, all snuggled up in her bed. We loved to sit and read poems together, and there were always newspapers around that Dad would share with us (and sometimes debate the topics).

I don't recall a ritual of story time every night, but I do remember being allowed to stay awake in my bed to read on my own as I grew older. Many mornings I would awake with the books smooshed under the covers, no place ever officially marked for my return.

It all made me wonder where a love of books comes from, and those intangibles that reading together as a family can offer. Finding a good book can bring so much more than a wonderful story to your mind.

As a homeschooling family, every day brings reading into our lives, and I am fortunate to say that all of my kids are readers. The van is always packed with books, and whenever there is a lull in our day, the kids reach for a book. Almost every night we read to our children. Steve does a wonderful job of reading a steady stream of chapter books to the 2 older boys who share a room. They have moved through almost all of the Encyclopedia Brown series, and many others. I love to listen to him read to the boys and pause to ask them their thoughts and ideas on the stories. There is so much more than reading going on with the kids during that time. The boys know Dad will bring them into the story and truly listen to their opinions at one of those rare quiet moments in the house. As of last year, I have been reading with my daughter, the oldest, some of the classics or 'girl books' as they are known in our male-dominated family. It is a wonderful opportunity to discuss a wide range of experiences, and compare the characters and their situations to real life possibilities. Finally, the little one still gets his one-on-one time with either Dad or me, or sometimes both. He loves the interaction and takes great pride in selecting a "cool book" for us to read together. The kids see us reading for pleasure, too, and as a family we try to read books together, then rent the movie to compare notes.

I guess it never dawned on me until tonight that there was any other way to do the reading thing with kids. There is so much more to teaching children to read. Sharing a love of books is one of the best gifts to give a child. You can really do more than open doors with a good book, and kids deserve as many opportunities to blaze trails as possible.

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