Saturday, October 24, 2009

A lifelong love of reading ...

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."
— Jorge Luis Borges

I was blessed to have been raised by parents who always encouraged my love of reading. Books have always been an escape for me -- an adventure to a new and exciting place. One of my favorite things to do as a child was to go into my closet with a book and a flashlight. Something about the close quarters and a good book was a comfort for me. I never remember my Mom discouraging me from reading a certain book -- even through my unfortunate V.C. Andrews stage.

I started reading to my children before they were even born. With Jacob, it was Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney every night to my growing belly. Molly, being a second child, was stuck listening to whatever her brother chose at the time. Both kids but especially Jacob have inherited my love of books. Between the two of them, we read six books a night before bed.

I can't say that I always enjoy the books they choose (how many Fancy Nancy books can one read before their head explodes?) but I never tell them "no" when choosing a book. A friend of mine once told me that the surest way to discourage your child in becoming a reader was to continuously tell them they couldn't read a book.

While at the library yesterday, I overheard a mother telling her three kids at least 8 times that they couldn't borrow the books they had chosen. Eight times they were discouraged because the mother didn't want a movie-related book or a book about princesses or a book about superheroes ...

All I could think was that her kids spent time looking and picking (I saw them doing it) and her she was slamming their choices. I am not saying kids should be able to read inappropriate material (be that because of content or maturity of the child). But how many times can you say "no" before the kids stop asking? Its just not a risk I want to take.


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