Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Raising a reader

When you look around my house books are everywhere.

We started to read books to our daughter as soon as we came home from the hospital.  They spent their younger years surrounded with books.  We would take frequent trips to the library and bookstore just to be around books.  We've enjoyed storytimes inside and out.  We brought books everywhere.

However, something happened as my daughters started elementary school.  They started to learn how to read and suddenly began to dislike reading.  Trying to get my girls to read was like trying to pull teeth.  I met resistance.  I still perservered.  I continued to bring home bags of books from the library.  We attended library nights and Saturday programs.  We visited different libraries.  I began to read as many children's books as I could.  I would let my daughters see me reading any chance I could.  I savored bedtime read alouds.

Then, my oldest daughter entered third grade and something happened.  She no longer liked to go to the library.  She suddenly did not want me to read books to her at bedtime.  She felt that she was old enough to do it on her own.  I was disappointed but kept sharing books with her that I thought she would like.  I asked her teachers for advice but was simply told that she is a great student.  I researched ideas on my own.  We started listening to audio books.  I introduced her to graphic novels.   I spend too much money on Scholastic book orders and Barnes and Noble.  The library always has a pile of books on hold for me.  I fill up our house with magazine subscriptions.  I continue to model reading.  I still read aloud to her younger sisters and sometimes catch her listening. 

I still hear the words, "I don't like reading.  Books aren't interesting."  I still hope that my daughter will have a teacher who inspires her to read outside of the classroom.  I still hope that one day my daughter will come home from school and say I have to share this book with you that I read at school.  I still fill my house with books.  I still encourage my girls to read before bed.

Then, one night a wonderful moment happened.  My daughter and husband were on the bed sharing Calvin and Hobbes books.  They each had a book in their hand.  They each took a turn reading and listening.  They shared their responses.  They laughed.  I looked in again and they both had their noses in books and a smile on their face.  This moment will be etched in my mind forever.

Now, I continue to see glimpses of a reader emerge.  She reads before bed.  At the top of her packing list for our summer trip was books!  She has read all of the Babymouse books.  She shares her favorite Garfield cartoons.  She reads magazines.  She has begun to like certain authors.  She reads her younger sisters' picture books when we are not looking.  She rereads favorite parts of her books over and over and over again.  She is excited about meeting authors.  There are books beside her bed, on her desk and in her bags.  She enjoys listening to audio books. She likes reading to the kindergarten students at school.  She has a pile of books beside her bed.

I am still constantly searching for just right books to recommend to her.  It is still hard to convince her to read a variety of books and step out of her comfort zone.  We are still working on building her stamina.  I will keep bringing books into our lives.  I know that I have raised a reader. I am determined to continue to do all I can to instill a love of reading in all of my daughters.  I will not give up on promoting books and authors in their lives.  My house will continue to fill up with books.

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