Celebrating reading: a reflection on our family’s growth

I love re-reading old personal posts and reflecting on how things have changed… or haven’t. The original post from 2012 focused on my children, where we were in reading and how we planned to celebrate Read Across America. Today, I’m updating the post in Cat-in-the-Hat red. 

family reading journey 2015

I have three very different children. Like me, my oldest loves to read. In school his teacher is constantly reminding him to put the book away and pay attention. He reads on the bus, in the car, in front of the TV. . . . We even catch him reading when we ask him to go from point A to point B. He’s been reading chapter books since he was four; all he wanted for his eighth birthday was a Kindle. The joy of reading has always been within him.

Big, age 11, still can’t get enough of books. He gets lost in stories. And he reads them again and again and again. I’m not one to read books a second and third time (in fact, besides A Wrinkle in Time, I don’t think I ever have read a book more than once!), so it blows my mind that he can read books multiple times. He also has incredible comprehension. He and classmates quiz each other on favorite books, for fun!

My middle son loves books. He loves maze books and dot-to-dots. He adores being read to and paging through picture books. Nearly every evening we read humorous poetry together. But reading words hasn’t been his thing. He’s the type of child who needs to study and be certain he can do something exactly correct before he’ll jump in and do it, which is why the past few days have been so amazing for us.

After years of encouraging him to read to us, he asked to read a book to his sister before her nap last weekend. It was a simple board book, but he read every word to her with such pride. Every night this week he’s helped me read books to her. Most books are familiar in rhyme or repetition, but the joy I see on his face as he says the words he is certain are on the page is enlightening and fills me with such pride.

Middle caught the reading bug around the middle of first grade, at age 7. He took his time sharing with us that he could read, so when he started reading, he was reading full paragraphs and books, just as we expected. He doesn’t love it when others recommend stories for him, he has to find them on his own. But as soon as he finds a book to read, he’ll enjoy it cover-to-cover.

My youngest, at only two, favors active books. She wants to touch books and perform the stories. She wants to hear different ways a story can be read, which is why she loves it when we all take turns reading with her.

Little’s now five and in a pre-kindergarten class. She still favors active books — especially books that she can interact with like sticker books, finding books (like Eye-Spy and Where’s Waldo) and educational-based activity books. But she also loves making stories as she reads. As a teacher, I recognize the importance of this step of pre-reading and love listening to her stories (usually, I spy from outside the door. Sometimes she even sings her stories! (Yes, I’m gushing with adoration.)  But I also love that, just a few times now, she’s read books to us. She’s learning her sounds and site words on her own, so I’ve kept books like Phil Roxbee Cox’s Phonics Readers series near by for the days she’s inspired to read to me. In the meantime, until she’s ready to start reading on her own, we’re generally happy to take turns reading with her. (Generally, because not all big brothers are always in the mood to read to their little sister.)

Books enlighten. Books encourage. Books raise esteem and help readers become lost in fantasies. This week kicks off Read Across America and, as we always do, our family will pause on March 2 and have thirty minutes of reading in Theodor Geisel’s (Dr. Seuss) memory and celebration of all he brought to children.

How is your family celebrating Read Across America?

I look forward to updating this post in a year or two when I share more thoughts of our family’s journey in reading. In the meantime, I have The Girl on the Train: A Novel waiting for me.

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel (jewelryverse.com) and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2015, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.

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