Hi, my name is Becky and I am a bibliophile. My obsession with books began when I was very young. My mom says I learned to read when I was three years old. The first book I remember owning was a gift from my Aunt, "The Read-it-Yourself Storybook" copyright 1971.
Isn't it beautiful? My three year old has recently discovered it on the bookshelf, so I have spent many precious hours introducing her to my dear old friends. Stories like; 'Emily's Moo', 'Too Many Bozos', 'Eddie's Moving Day', and 'Tony and His Friends' are all found just beyond the tattered lavender cover.
One of the most exciting and memorable moments in my life was when my mom brought home a large box of books she had purchased for a couple dollars at a garage sale. I carted them up to the attic, which wasn't easy considering we had an unfinished attic with a drop-down chain ladder. I balanced a piece of plywood over the floor joists and spent all my free time reading in front of the window. I suppose it was far from an ideal reading spot, as it was hot in the summer, freezing cold in the winter and had no electric lights. To me though, it could easily become a hot air balloon soaring over the clouds, a bear-filled cave, or a lush, tropical oasis.
I remember fondly my elementary school librarian and how she would read to us every week-the most exciting tales of unusual people and far away places. I still to this day have an indescribable admiration for her.
I remember how my 5th grade teacher had to scramble to find more books for me to read because I read everything on the reading list in the first 2 months of school.
I remember my highschool literature classes where I was introduced to such authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Toni Morrison, George Orwell, Chaucer and Hawthrone.
I remember the college class I took my senior year in high school: Introduction to a Genre: Drama. I became familiar with the plays of Tennessee Williams and Thornton Wilder.
I remember when my wonderful husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday last year. I rarely go from one room to another without it. I have even discovered I can put it in a zip-top plastic bag and read in the bathtub. My favorite time to read is between the hours of 9:00 and 11:00 at night. The house is unusually quiet, blissfully quiet, and there is little chance of being interrupted by a call of, "Mom!"
Today, as I home school my children, I am doing everything in my power to give them the same love of books. Why?
The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived. ~Howard Pyle
The knowledge they glean from books, will help form them into intelligent, pensive, well-spoken men. I want reading to become a habit they will never want to break. While reading is all bout fun and adventure at this stage, they will learn very soon about the joy and satisfaction that come when you find the answer to a question you have been seeking, and answers to questions you didn't even know you had!
A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint.... What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. ~Henry David Thoreau
That is why I want my children to love reading. An easy feat it most certainly is not. My boys are very curious, active boys who love to ride bikes and climb trees. Even in the winter they would rather brave the elements to make snow forts and sled down the snow-covered corn field, before they would choose to sit still and read. I have been reading, researching, and racking my brain to raise them up with a love of the printed page. Here are some of the changes we've made over the years to
make books a bigger focus in our home:
* Absolutely no electronics on school days. This includes television, video games, and computer (unrelated to school).
* For every chapter book they finish, I take them to the bookstore and let them choose any book they would like.
*We keep a book log on the side of the book shelf where they record how many hours per week they read. They can trade in their 'book hours' for 'video-game hours' on non-school days.
*I choose 'living books' with engaging characters and exciting plots.
*I read aloud to them 1-2 hours a day.
*They have the option of staying up 30 minutes past bedtime to read. They have their own booklights which they think are pretty cool!
*I play audio books during quiet moments of the day-mostly breakfast and lunch time, and while they are settling down to sleep at night.
*I let them see ME reading. I read during our quiet reading time along side of them. 99% of the reading I do is on my Kindle, but during quiet reading time I make an effort to pick up an actual book so they can see what I am reading.
*I tell them about the books I am reading and encourage them to do the same. They love to talk about the characters in their books.
*I re-arranged our main living area to make it a more comfortable spot to read and listen to books. I was inspired by Oliver Demille's explanation of their living/reading space in his book "Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning".
The Princess and I love to sit in the rocking chair reading books. Her favorites are: 'Corduroy', 'Goodnight Gorilla', 'Katy No-Pockets', and 'Caps for Sale'. She just may be a bibliophile like her mama. The boys like to read sprawled upside down on the couch, or in a blanket-topped fort under the table. When I am reading aloud to them, they like to build with legos or blocks at the game table. Sometimes they set up rows of little green soldiers in preparation of some important battle. In the summer we enjoy quiet reading time outside in the hammock, on the deck, or on a blanket spread in the field by the woods.
Will my efforts be rewarded? In one way or another, they most
definitely will be. As adults, will they surround themselves with books? Will they spend every free moment reading? Maybe not, BUT.......they will have wonderful memories of countless hours curled up on the couch reading and hearing of brave knights, daring adventurers and stories of self-sacrifice. It will be a part of them. And, they will know where to find it all again.
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx