Tucker walked with me last week while Tolliver took his piano lesson. He talked mostly about a book he was reading, The Infinity Year of Avalon James, in which a pair of ten year olds believe magical powers may present themselves at that age.
And then later in the week, Tuck found me in the kitchen, hoping to discuss a plot twist.
The boys have all learned that I will stop what I'm doing to read a book. Often I am busy, and say as much.
My hands are busy, I will play Candyland in a few minutes. My hands are busy, I can help build a marble run in a moment. My hands are busy, can you find something to work on by yourself for a bit?
But I will invariably drop whatever I'm doing for at least one book. Of course I can take a break and read a book with you. And usually, once we're cuddled on the couch, we end up reading half a dozen.

Recently, another more experienced mom asked Why:: You don't have to stop for them, they can wait...
I don't know why, I just decided a long time ago that I could never be too busy to read a book. And that has evolved into not being too busy to discuss a plot twist. It may not be a failsafe strategy, but I do treat books like they're magical, and the kids seem to be growing up believing that too.
Tucker and Tolliver both love to read. Parents sometimes ask me how we did it, how we helped the boys connect with books. And I am quick to say A) I'm not entirely sure and B) I don't want credit.
I know lots of adults who are avid readers but whose children just haven't clicked with literature. One mom told me recently that her husband established "family reading time," so both parents sit down together with their son, play classical music, and read. I loved hearing this idea. I'm not sure we'll do it, but it did make me think about whether the boys see me reading. Not often, as I usually pick up my own book after they're in bed.
But their grandparents take them to book stores and pay for magazine subscriptions and save newspaper articles to share, and the boys understand that our family values reading. And the boys' teachers, thankfully, have not put them under the kind of pressure to read that can overshadow the joy of doing it.

I'd estimate that we have, on average, about 75 library books checked out at a time. Many of them never get read. We keep some in an outdoor tub for after school reading in the treehouse. I've learned that although most of our library books get plopped into a basket in the kitchen, laying a few out in plain sight - on the dining table, for example - has a way of sucking the boys into a story, when otherwise they might've been bored.
The boys read a lot in the back seat of the car. And they fall asleep reading in bed most nights. They take books to the pool to read during rest periods, but usually find friends to play with instead.
Some of my parenting fantasies - children who are impeccably mannered or perfectly behaved, children who actually eat whatever I make for lunch - haven't quite come true yet, but we do feel lucky that the boys devour books.

1 comment:

rht said...

I have such vivid memories of you reading on top of a hay bale, in the backseat.... ;)