My husband Jeramy and I have always valued reading as an important part of our lives. We are both very passionate about books, and developed this love at young ages. We both began reading between three and four years of age. He went on to reading Jack London by the 4th grade, and as an eight year-old girl I was developing my lifetime love for Roald Dahl. When we first moved in together, years ago, we had to ask our brother-in-law to build us some large custom shelving to house our library of books.
As an adult, I am still in love with Children’s Literature. I also have a desire to one day become a published children’s author/illustrator. This is one of the reasons I love my job on the Children’s Floor of the public library so much. I get to be surrounded by something I love, and dream that one day my own work may make a home on the shelves.
The lifelong love for reading is something that Jeramy and I both wish to pass on to Simon. We not only want him to know the joy of a terrific book, but also to have reading as a means by which to expand and seek out his knowledge. Neither of us wish to force reading upon him, but we do strive to create an environment that will give him adequate exposure to books, and in which we role model reading as something to be enjoyed and sought out.
In a recent conversation we agreed on a parenting rule: No matter what we are doing, if we are able to stop and read to Simon when he requests it, we will. And if, for some reason, we cannot stop what we are doing, we will read to him as soon as we can.
Each time I go to the Library I swap out a stack of books for some new ones to bring home for him. We also try to bring him to the weekly Baby Storytime when we can. I often make my books selections based on things that are going on in our lives, for example, we currently have a few books about pumpkins checked out. I do this to provide another context for his toddler mind to connect ideas and events. I also try to find books that reflect his growing and ever-changing interests. One week he might be fascinated by dinosaurs, the next week balloons. I will grab books about whatever he is into at the time, because it will make him more likely to be interested in reading the book.
Not that he needs much nudging. Simon loves books right now. He asks us to read to him periodically throughout the day, and often asks for favorites to be read over and over. (And even though I may be tired of The Bear Went Over the Mountain after the tenth reading, clearly he is not, so I oblige.)
I become absolutely beside myself with joy when I feel he has become too quiet while out of my sight, and I am sure he is doing something naughty, only to discover him sitting cross-legged on the rug with a book in his lap, flipping through the pages.
Perhaps someday we will be reading him some Jack London or Roald Dahl at bedtime?