Pieces of Family: Reading

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I’m excited about starting a new blog series!  Each week I am going to try to take a look at a piece of the mosaic that makes up my crazy life.  Kicking it off today with a look at my family, and how we foster a love for reading in our home.

I love reading.  Getting lost in a book while forgetting about everything around me equals perfection.  Whenever we go away or on vacation I am sure to plan out what books I am bringing or load up some new reads on my kindle.  I have been known to stay up way beyond any reasonable time just to finish a book, telling myself I will read just one more chapter.  Sometimes I wish I allowed myself more time just to read at night, but truth be told I usually get sucked into some stupid tv show.

A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted my kids to develop a passion for reading and stories of their own.  My older ones could now read on their own and had even begun reading chapter books.  Their homework had even begun to include independent reading time.  I knew that if I wanted them to believe that reading was just something you did everyday, just like brushing your teeth,  I had to model it as well.  I gathered some books I wanted to read and made sure they were close by if I needed to pick one up.  I knew if I modeled just picking up a book and reading, they would see it as a norm.  Before bed, we would all stay down in the living room for a little bit longer to pick up a good story, sprawled out on our couch, legs overlapping as we all grab a book.


Sometimes I pretend to read but secretly I am  just staring at them.  Watching their little faces, noses deep in a book, lost in another world.  They have quickly learned I am a sucker for book stores, that I love Barnes and noble, and that a used book sale at the library means I will probably blow all my lunch money that week!

We still read out loud to them, reading classics like Madeline, Pippi Longstocking, and the Box Car Kids.  We have even started letting them read in their beds after we say goodnight for 15 minutes.  There is just something so beautiful about seeing a little habit form in them with reading.

Now there was some opposition, as always!  I remember when our daughter was struggling with reading in kindergarten, and tears were a regular thing during reading time.  And tantrums and stomping and screaming that she hated reading, yes she is quite the drama child when she wants to be, and we love her dearly nonetheless.  I remember so many days sitting there next to her listening to her slowly sound out each word.  Let me just stop right here and be super honest—I hated this!!! It was soooo painful to sit there for 20 minutes and listen to chopped up reading of these silly books they sent home from school.

Well sure enough as soon as the slow as molasses reading started to become a little smoother, a certain little girl realized the power and independence that came with reading her own chapter books.  Before I knew it she was head over heels for a certain Junie B Jones girl and was always grabbing a book as we headed out the door.

I know not every kid is going to love reading, every child is just drawn to different things.  Looking back I am glad I didn’t surrender so quickly that my daughter wouldn’t love reading because I would have missed out on seeing her nose deep in a book every night before bed.  Each family makes their own values and priorities, that’s what makes us all unique.  In our house, reading is one of them.  Whether they read by themselves, or we read together, or I read a loud while they color or draw, I always want them to know how to create a picture in their head with their own imagination.  Whatever you value, if you want your kids to value it too, you just have to model it for them.  Good or bad they are always watching.

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