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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The perfect recipe to create a reader!

Or not.

Way back when, back before I had children and thought I knew everything about child rearing... back when I got a degree in psychology with a minor in child and family development, back when I had a little brother and equated baby sitting with parenting, back when I knew just how to do it "right" so all my kids would turn out to be the perfect little human beings that I was so positive I would raise, back before I appreciated the real and true impact of the nature component of the nature-nurture parenting debate... Way back then, I though for sure that I was gonna raise "readers." I thought, probably unknowingly, that surely it took just right recipe of 1 part role modeling, 2 parts oral reading, 1 part access to books, 1 part procurement and use of the local library card...  to instill a love of books and reading, and surely I'd be one of those moms that would need to say Hey there, Bobby! It's time to get your nose out of that book so we can play a game together/eat dinner/go to school... Or Gosh Sharon, Little Sally is always reading, and I'm worried that she isn't spending enough time in imaginative play with her friends. Whatever will I do? And by the way, just so we're clear those words, or words anything even close to them, were never never muttered by me. Young me would be disappointed by this. Old me, now me, current wise-test-and-true me knows better. We never ever did create such "a reader" in our family... until maybe now.
Okay let's be clear, I don't think we created a reader. I think there's far more to it than that. Or maybe less depending on how you look at it. I think I've learned over my 115 years of parenting... that all the planning and reading recipe following I thought was gonna work and attempted, and I now understand that one does not simply create a reader. Yes, there are wonderful and good things that a parent can do to nudge your child along the path to become a reader, but I now realize that there's a good deal of luck and DNA factored in to the equation too. Some kids just come out of the womb naturally wired to enjoy reading more than other kids do. And similar to having dark brown eyes or long fingers, there's really nothing I can do to change that. 8 kiddos later and decades of tweaking the recipe and I've learned that only by luck do I think we have our first reader! And it's Tess! The really crazy surprising part is that Tess is one of our kids that struggles the most with reading, (with the exception of Ru, but that's a horse of a different color!) and reading reading does not come easily for her. I'm not even really sure what changed for her, but sometime this last fall, Tess decided, again probably unknowingly, all on her own, that she was "a reader," put her nose in a book, (many many books at this point) and hasn't really taken in out yet! Very very often I'll find her holed up in some quiet corner flipping the pages. You probably know by now that Tess is far from a girly girl. She beats to the beat of her own drummer, and last summer I put some extra effort to have books around that she m. She might enjoy. A Little House of the Prairie girl she is not, so I was going to have to find reading material she was interested in. That turned out to be anything scary! Coraline was among her favorites, but she also read most of the Scary Stories books (even though I think they are crap reading) and other frightening books as well. She has since morphed into reading fantasy-scary-dragon-fighting books, but I still stay on the lookout for anything appropriate for younger reader that's on the scary side too.

I'm not sure how long Tess's reading phase of will last, and it may stop just as quickly as it started! But for now I'm loving seeing her read, although I've yet to complain that she's reading too much. We also love that it servers as another great role model for her younger brother an sister too! But if she does stop reading with such enthusiasm, I won't blame myself. I'll just be happy that this beautiful girl is anything other than who our gracious Lord created her to be! Reader or not!

1 comment:

  1. Have you heard of The Geen Ember series by SD Smith?

    It's medieval-ish (swords) fantasy about personified rabbits who's world has been taken over by evil giant birds of prey and wolves. (No magic, or dragons, although the fourth book is being written, and there are hints that dragons might figure into the story.) The action is not almost nonstop. There are definitely scary parts, but not over-the-top, even in the battle scenes. That said, I'm 21, and the suspense kept me at the edge of my seat! The character development and story quality is phenomenal! I love how life lessons are woven in throughout, but never in your face or preachy. Everyone in my family loves the series, from the teenage boys, down to my eight-year-old little sister.

    *It hasn't been an issue for us, or close friends who have adopted, and whose kids read it, but the multiple characters who have lost their parents due to war, or whose family is captured might be a trigger for some kiddos.


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