This is Children’s Book Week. This years slogan – Read Now, Read Forever.
In my heart of hearts, I hope that they mean “read whatever now, read forever,” because getting my son to read actual books has been a 20 year slog. When he was little, he loved to be read to. I think we read every night until he was about 10. I suspect that is when he realized that not everyone 4th grader had story time with Mom and Dad each night.
At one point, I asked him why he wanted us to read to him when he could read to himself. He was afraid if he read himself, we would quit. Not a chance!
I was a voracious reader from the moment that I sounded out my first word. There’s a rather infamous family story about me yelling out from the bathtub, “Hey Mom, what does sh@t mean?” Apparently I had sounded it off the sidewalk on the way home from kindergarten and wanted to trot out my new vocabulary.
Sidewalk, book, whatever. My kiddo always prefered audio books to print and when it came time for print a graphic novel was much better than a novel. I’m a huge audio book fan so that didn’t faze me. We listen to them when we travel. I listen while I wash dishes. Sometimes I get out my knitting just so I have an excuse to listen. But I still love to read.
The kiddo towers over me now and is wrapping up his second year of college. Cooking, history, and tech. If he wants to know about it, he looks for a video. Every now and again through the years a book has made the cut. Wierd facts. Fantasy activities and crafts. Zombie survival. How to make jerky.
But just last week, I walked through the living room and . . . what? What the heck? Stretched out on the sofa was the 20 year-old with a cat (not surprising) and a novel.
He’s always been a lover of media but only recently has he started to read fiction in print form. Be still my heart.
The moral? Patience. Give them what they love be it video, audio, or graphic novel. Encourage variety. And when they pick up what you love? Make sure you’re all the way around the corner and out of sight before you start the happy dance.