Here it is 8:00pm Wednesday night and my children are buried deep in their books. They finished their homework hour ago, this is reading for fun. The house is silent except for the hum of the water cooler and refrigerator. The odd comment comes from one of the offspring and a giggle about the part of the book they have reached. They are both reading Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan. This is the latest from the Percy Jackson series that hooked my kids a long time ago.
There is nothing that gives me as much pleasure than knowing I raised readers.
It started when they turned one. I read Good Night Moon every night before bed. Children need lots of repetition. When we could talk about what was happening in the pictures we increased the books to two before bed. Eventually, we worked up to longer content and by the time my kids were in school, we were reading chapter books together. They would read to me for homework, then before bed, I would read to them. It was pure pleasure on my part. Together we read The Magic Coin, Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Narnia Series and of course the entire Harry Potter series. We read classics like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I would choose stories that I loved from my childhood, like Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great and Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing.
Parent/Teacher interviews often had a book fair on the same evening. These fairs were library fundraisers for the school. I would always reward my children with a books of their choice. It was a big deal. Family nights were often a trip to the bookstore and a cup of hot chocolate. We learned that Alex Rider was a great series and Clementine made for great bedtime reading. The trick was finding books that appealed to my kids sense of adventure.
Then one day, the day came when my kids read on their own before bed. They would come and kiss me good night, and tell me they were going to bed early so they could read the latest adventures of Peter and the Star Catchers or Anne of Green Gables. Even as they entered high school, the stories changed and Michio Kaku and his physics books became more interesting than fiction, they still would read every night and complain if they were out of books.
On the “I have read these books” shelf, my kids have placed The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Steve Jobs, The Time Travelers Wife, 11/22/63, Tara Road and many other adult fiction titles. It makes me smile when they pick up a book they have already read because it feels like an old friend. The books that get revisited most often are the Peter and the Starcatchers series and the Hunger Games. Occasionally book #4 of Harry potter comes out or a companion book like Magical Beasts and Where to find them.
Dinner conversation sometimes revolves around books, “I never thought I would see the day when ‘underscores’ were used in dialogue.” Huh… I wasn’t even sure what that meant, but a meaningful conversation ensued. Both offspring have decided to take it slow with Mark of Athena because of the sadness that comes with finishing a great book. We have all gone through that mourning period when we think about the characters long after the book is finished. They each have several books in queue, but the one they are reading is currently the best. Perfect for a quiet Wednesday night at home.
What were some of your favorite reads as a kid?