Raising a Reader

For as long as I can remember, reading has been an integral part of my life. My mother swore I was reading by age 2, and I honestly can't remember a time that I didn't have at least one book going. To this day, I have a bad habit of trying to hurry through things so I have more time to read.

I've tried hard not to let the importance of reading in my life unduly influence Beatrix. Though there is nothing that I would like more than for her to love reading as much as I do, and though we've tried to make books important by having lots of them around, by taking her to bookstores and libraries, and by reading to her, I've tried not to push it too hard. She has a lot of other experiences in her life (like music and circus) that I did not have, and it's important to me that she finds her own interest and passions.

Recently, though, she's seemed to have a real interest in books. She's been very interested in having me read them to her, and in "reading" them herself (which generally involves holding them open and looking at them, sometimes describing the story to me). It's been a banner week for books, in which she got one new book at Common Good Books, a couple more at the Red Balloon (where a bunny was visiting, so now she forever thinks that all bookstores have bunnies and I am afraid to take her to Wild Rumpus), and then some more today at Half Price and from the library. Her favorite book off all time is a theatre book she got from Kelly at Play by Play Books, which is too old for her but that she reads every day anyway.

I love that my daughter is learning to love books and reading, but I'm also pleased at another message here — that we generally get books from local places that we know and love, that can help us find stories that we will treasure, where we feel at home and where we can even sprawl out on the floor with a bunny or two. I think those lessons are as important as learning to read.

But I really can't wait until the times that all three of us can spend a rainy Saturday afternoon sprawled out on various couches together, reading. Bliss.


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