"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."
This isn't a typical Sunday Salon post, I know. But I was thinking today about how vital reading is with each of my children and within our family in general. These past six months my youngest has quickly transitioned from really easy readers, such as the Bob Books (in the photo below), to the Frog and Toad Are Friends level. I am continually amazed with the rapidity with which he progresses in his reading.
My daughter was somewhat of a reluctant reader. I was actually experiencing some fear, a few years ago, that she would just not be a voracious reader. (We do have one or two such aberrations in our extended family.) Fortunately, she was just a late bloomer. She knows that it is nearly impossible for me to command her to "turn out the light" when she says, "But Mama, can't I just read one more chapter? I have to read before I go to sleep!" These past couple of months I've had the most wonderful time reading books to her in the evening that were my favorite books at her age. It doesn't get much better than that.
And then there is my oldest, who eats books. We have literally been reading to him since the day we brought him home from the hospital. Our college humanities text Western Civilization was one of his first read-alouds. (We got to Good-night Moon later.) This year has been especially fun, as I've been teaching an American Literature class of which he is a part. Sharing classics with your teen is an amazing experience.
So this year I've had the privilege of guiding my youngest to hone his reading skills, sharing girlhood favorites with my daughter, and discussing and analyzing great works of American literature with my teenager. That is reading at its finest.
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